The recent court ruling in the Epic Games v. Apple case has been making waves in the tech industry, with many debating the issue of monopolies and anti-trust laws in relation to Apple’s App Store. The question on many minds is how can the App Store promote competition when it is a monopoly on iOS?
The court determined that defining the relevant market is a vital step in any anti-trust case. Epic argued that the relevant market is Apple’s iOS system, while Apple argued that the relevant market is the market for all digital video games, where it is one of many players. However, the court disagreed with both sides and instead defined the relevant market as “digital mobile gaming transactions.”
Under this definition, the court found that Apple has a 52-57% market share in the “digital mobile gaming transactions” market. However, this was not enough for the court to conclude that Apple has monopoly power. Therefore, the court ruled in favor of Apple, stating that Epic had failed to establish, as a factual matter, its proposed market definition and the existence of any substantially less restrictive alternative means for Apple to accomplish the procompetitive justifications supporting iOS’s walled-garden ecosystem.
The debate around Apple’s control over the App Store continues as some argue that Apple’s monopoly on iOS is hindering competition while others argue that it is not a monopoly as there are alternative app stores on Android devices. However, ultimately, the court ruled that Apple did not have monopoly power in the relevant market.
Many factors contribute to why people choose to use Apple products, including the operating system, build quality, and available iOS-only applications. However, some argue that Apple’s branding and marketing are a significant factor in their popularity.
The issue of monopolies and anti-trust laws is a complex one, and it remains to be seen how this ruling will impact future cases. However, it highlights the importance of defining the relevant market in any anti-trust case and demonstrates the difficulty in establishing whether a company holds monopoly power.
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Author Eliza Ng