Judge says Apple engages in "incipient antitrust conduct", denies stay of external payment order

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apple monopoly

In October Apple had a mixed result from its long-running anti-trust trial against Epic.  Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers handed Epic a victory by permanently restraining Apple from stopping developers from linking out to alternate payment methods outside of the app store.

Apple was also prohibited from preventing developers from communicating with users via information gathered from their apps via account registrations.

In turn, the judge failed to find Apple was a monopoly, noting that the market was all digital mobile gaming transactions, not just those that take place on iOS, and had the right to collect a fee for the use of its platform.

While Apple has happy about the later, the company has asked Judge Gonzalez-Rogers for an indefinite stay of the former, saying allowing external payment providers for digital goods in the app store would place users at risk, saying “they will harm consumers. They will harm developers. That is a fact. It is going to happen.”

“This will be the first time Apple has ever allowed live links in an app for digital content. It’s going to take months to figure out the engineering, economic, business, and other issues,” said Apple attorney Mark Perry. “It is exceedingly complicated. There have to be guardrails and guidelines to protect children, to protect developers, to protect consumers, to protect Apple. And they have to be written into guidelines that can be explained and enforced and applied.”

Judge Gonzalez-Rogers was however pretty clear that this would not be granted, accusing Apple of  basing their appeal on “selective reading of this Court’s findings and ignores all of the findings which supported the injunction.”

In particular, they noted that Apple “Apple’s motion is based on a selective reading of this Court’s findings and ignores all of the findings which supported the injunction, namely incipient antitrust conduct including supercompetitive commission rates resulting in extraordinarily high operating margins and which have not been correlated to the value of its intellectual property.”

The statement suggests that Apple acts like a monopoly despite not having a large enough market share to be declared one.

Apple will now have to implement the order by the 9th December deadline, though the company is trying to appeal to a higher court, the Ninth Circuit court, saying none of Judge Gonzalez-Rogers’ orders should be implemented before the whole appeal process was completed.

Judge Gonzalez-Rogers was however not convinced, suggesting that “Apple has provided no credible reason for the Court to believe that the injunction would cause the professed devastation.”

via the verge

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