(Reuters) – Apple Inc said it plans to argue that it faces abundant competition in the market for video game deals to defend itself against antitrust accusations by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, the iPhone maker said on Thursday.
Epic sued Apple last year in federal court in California, alleging the 15% to 30% commission that Apple levies for using the payment system in its apps and Apple’s longstanding practice of exercising control over which apps can be installed on its devices equals anti-competitive behavior. The dispute arose after Epic tried to implement a payment system in its own app in the popular “Fortnite” game and Apple later banned the game from its App Store.
The case will be heard in May in Oakland, California, by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who must decide which “market” idea is correct to analyze Apple’s move for signs of anticompetitive behavior.
Epic has framed its case around the idea that Apple’s iPhones, with an installed base of more than 1 billion users, represent their own distinct market for software developers. Epic argues that Apple has monopoly power over that market because it decides how users can install software on devices and says it abuses that power by forcing developers to ship their software through the App Store, where developers are charged a fee on some transactions.
In a filing planned by Apple on Thursday, the company rejected the idea and said the right market to analyze the case would be the video game deals market, which includes platforms such as Nintendo Co Ltd and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox game console, which also restrict the software that can run on it. their hardware and charge the developer a fee.
Apple said it plans to argue that consumers have many choices about how to conduct video game transactions, including buying virtual tokens from game developers on other platforms such as Windows PCs and using tokens on iPhones at no cost to game developers.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Edited by Leslie Adler