Epic ruling invites future efforts to paint Apple as monopolist -experts

11/9/2021 1:59:00 AM

Epic ruling invites future efforts to paint Apple as monopolist -experts

Epic ruling invites future efforts to paint Apple as monopolist -experts

WASHINGTON : A U.S. judge stopped short of labeling Apple Inc an 'illegal monopolist' on Friday, but the closely-watched ruling provides a roadmap for similar claims against the iPhone maker in the future, legal experts said.Ruling on an antitrust case brought by Epic Games, creator of the online game 'Fo

WASHINGTON : A U.S. judge stopped short of labeling Apple Inc an"illegal monopolist" on Friday, but the closely-watched ruling provides a roadmap for similar claims against the iPhone maker in the future, legal experts said.Ruling on an antitrust case brought by Epic Games, creator of the online game"Fortnite," U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Epic did not present sufficient evidence of Apple having unlawful monopoly power in the relevant market, which she defined as"digital mobile gaming transactions."

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S. judge stopped short of labeling Apple Inc an"illegal monopolist" on Friday, but the closely-watched ruling provides a roadmap for similar claims against the iPhone maker in the future, legal experts said. Last week, South Korea's parliament approved a bill that bans major app store operators such as Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems, effectively stopping them from charging commissions on in-app purchases. Ruling on an antitrust case brought by Epic Games, creator of the online game"Fortnite," U. Earlier on Friday, a U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Epic did not present sufficient evidence of Apple having unlawful monopoly power in the relevant market, which she defined as"digital mobile gaming transactions. (Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva) Source: Reuters.

" But the California judge made clear that the decision was limited to the facts before her. U. "While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55per cent and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct," Gonzalez Rogers said."The Court does not find that it is impossible; only that Epic Games failed in its burden to demonstrate Apple is an illegal monopolist." The judge did find that Apple's rules on its lucrative App Store business violated California state competition laws."We need to pass federal legislation on app store conduct to protect consumers, promote competition, and foster innovation," she said in a statement. The question of whether Apple abused monopoly power"remains very much unsettled," said Joshua Paul Davis, a professor of antitrust law at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

"Given how controversial these issues are right now, I would expect this not to be the final say," he said. In her ruling, Gonzalez Rogers noted that Epic Games had"overreached" in a trial earlier this year by trying to define the relevant market as all app distribution and in-app payments on iPhones. Klobuchar had teamed up with fellow Senate Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn to introduce a bill in August that would bar big app stores, like Apple and Alphabet Inc's Google, from requiring app providers to use their payment system, among other measures. "As a consequence, the trial record was not as fulsome with respect to antitrust conduct in the relevant market as it could have been," Gonzalez Rogers said. Apple's legal team said it was still reviewing whether to appeal the decision. "We're extremely pleased with this decision," Apple's General Counsel Katherine L. Representative Ken Buck, a Republican, along with a Democratic colleague, introduced a similar measure in the House.

Adams told reporters."It underscores the merit of our business, both as an economic and competitive engine." Valarie Williams, a partner at law firm Alston & Bird, called Gonzalez Rogers' decision a"road map" to future plaintiffs pursuing monopoly claims against Apple."All businesses should be able to communicate with their customers and not be held hostage by monopolistic behavior. Future plaintiffs could bring a case that adopts Gonzalez Rogers's market definition and introduces additional evidence, Williams said. Sam Weinstein, a professor of antitrust law at Cardozo School of Law, agreed the judge's ruling could encourage other market participants to learn from Epic's case and try to launch a stronger blow against Apple.

Language in the ruling could even signal that the judge thinks"it's only a matter of time" before Apple becomes a monopoly, Weinstein said. "It is clear that courts continue to narrowly interpret the antitrust laws in favor of monopolies," they said. "This is only one particular piece of litigation framed in one particular way," said Davis."The court was pretty explicit that different litigants could come forward with different evidence...

and that could potentially change the result." (Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Mike Scarcella; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis and Diane Bartz; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Sonya Hepinstall) Source: Reuters .