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Epic Games and Apple are locked in a legal battle at the moment, with no end in sight. And earlier this year, Epic tried to broaden the scope of its action into the United Kingdom. However, it turns out that won’t be happening after all.

Back in January we reported that Epic Games had broadened its legal battle with Apple and Google to the UK. According to Epic, the move was to make sure that its fight for “fair digital platform practices” was heard not just in the United States, but beyond. However, a UK judge has ruled that Epic’s lawsuit against Apple shouldn’t be heard in the region.

Here’s how this breaks down. Apple Inc. is located in the United States. Meanwhile, Apple Ltd. is actually an English company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple Inc. So, this ruling actually decides that Epic Games can’t take legal action against Apple Inc. in the United Kingdom, because it’s out of the UK court’s jurisdiction.

Per 9to5Mac today:

In the Apple action (Case 1377), the application for permission to serve the proceedings on A1 out of the jurisdiction was refused.

However, things get more interesting in Epic Games coinciding legal action against Google. Judge Roth ruled in a decidedly more mixed way with that one. Specifically, the judged ruled that some action against Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) and Google LLC can move forward in the United Kingdom:

In the Google action (Case 1378), the application for permission to serve the proceedings on G1 and G2 out of the jurisdiction was granted for certain claims for breach of the Chapter I and Chapter II prohibitions under the CA 1998, and the injunctions claimed at paras (c), (d) and (h) of the prayer to the Claim Form. Permission was refused as regards the other claims made.

So, an interesting turn of events. Just to set the scene a bit, here’s what Epic Games released in a public statement back in January, after it had filed its lawsuit against Apple (and Google):

The legal proceedings, filed in London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal, allege the conduct of both Apple and Google in their respective app stores is an abuse of a dominant position and in breach of the UK’s competition laws, substantially reducing competition in app distribution and payment processes.

We believe that this is an important argument to make on behalf of consumers and developers in the UK and around the world who are impacted by Apple and Google’s misuse of market power. We look forward to making our case on January 21.

Epic is not seeking damages from Apple or Google in the UK, Australia or the US, it is simply seeking fair access and competition that will benefit all consumers.

And just below, you can find the timeline of events that brought us to today in the battle between Epic Games and Apple.

The timeline August 13, 2023

Epic Games updates Fortnite on the

server-side

, bypassing the App Store review

process

. It adds a direct payment option, breaking another rule in the

process

.

Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store due to

Epic Games

breaking the App Store rules.

E

pic Games

launches a media blitz, and it also sues

Apple

for anti-competitive behavior.

Epic launches “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”, a parody video of Apple’s original “1984” ad:

Google removes Fortnite from the

Play Store

, as Epic Games also violated the Play Store’s rules.

Epic sues Google, too.

Spotify weighs in! Unsurprisingly, it applauds

Epic Games

for its

decision

to stand up against Apple.

August 14, 2023

Facebook says Apple’s

App Store

fees make it impossible to help

small businesses

impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

August 17, 2023

Apple threatens to revoke Epic Games’

developer

accounts for not only

iOS

, but also

macOS

. That cut-off is set to take place on Friday, August 28, 2023.

August 18, 2023

Apple issues an official statement on the matter in

response

to Epic Games.

Epic Games is revealed to have sought a coalition of “Apple critics” to help fight against Apple.

August 20, 2023

The Wall Street Journal and other news publications sign an open letter asking for Apple to reduce its

App Store

fees down to a standard 15%.

August 21, 2023

Epic Games promotes the #FreeFortnite Cup, or

tournament

, that is meant to bring even more attention against

Apple

, and is promoting “anti-Apple” prizes.

Epic sought special treatment for Fortnite before it declared war against Apple and the App Store’s guidelines.

August 24, 2023

Judge Gonzalez-Rogers rules that Apple does not need to reinstate Fortnite back into the App Store as the legal battle wages on. The judge also rules that Apple cannot revoke the Unreal Engine

development

tools, but it can still move forward with removing Epic’s developer account for

iOS

and macOS.

Apple says it agrees with the ruling made by Judge Gonzalez-Rogers, and is prepared to welcome Fortnite back onto

iOS

as soon as Epic Games is ready to follow the App Store guidelines.

August 26, 2023

Epic confirms that the new season of Fortnite, which is Marvel-themed, will not be available on iOS or Mac. Cross-platform functionality with those

platforms

is also removed.

August 28, 2023

Epic lets Fortnite players know in an email that it’s Apple’s fault they can’t

play

the new season of the game.

Apple revokes Epic Games’ App Store and developer accounts.

September 8, 2023

Apple countersues Epic Games in what it claims is a “breach of contract” related to its

App Store

practices.

September 9, 2023

Epic Games says Apple is going to disable the “Sign in with Apple”

feature

as soon as Friday, September 11.

Apple changes its mind regarding “Sign in with Apple”, allows existing

customers

to keep using it.

September 10, 2023 September 18, 2023

Epic Games shuts down Fortnite: Save the World for Mac as of September 23.

September 24, 2023

Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, and other

companies

create the “Coalition for App Fairness” to take on Apple’s and Google’s digital storefront policies.

September 28, 2023

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers says the public’s opinion regarding the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games should be considered, suggests a jury should be involved.

October 7, 2023

Judge rules that the court battle between Apple and Epic Games will resume in May 2023.

November 5, 2023

Fortnite returns to iOS thanks to GeForce Now game

streaming service

, and only available via Safari.

December 17, 2023

Judge orders both Tim

Cook

and Craig Federighi to testify in the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games.

December 21, 2023

Epic Games sends out “Free Fortnite” loot boxes to influencers, trying to drum up support

January 14, 2023

Epic Games expands its legal battle with Apple and Google to the United Kingdom

February 1, 2023

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is ordered to sit through a 7-hour deposition

February 10, 2023

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney confirms that the company had been planning its lawsuit against Apple for months

February 19, 2023

Apple subpoenas Valve Software in an effort to learn about the company’s Steam digital storefront, including revenue and more regarding over 30,000 games.

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Apple Describes Epic Games Ruling As A ‘Resounding Victory’ For The App Store

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers today handed down her decision in the Apple vs. Epic legal case over the App Store. Judge Rogers ruled that Apple violates antitrust law with its anti-steering policies in the App Store, but that Apple is not a monopoly. Judge Rogers issued a permanent injunction saying that Apple can no longer forbid developers from directing users to third-party payment options. 

While Epic Games has already announced that it plans to appeal the ruling, Apple is pleased with the outcome.

In a statement to the press, Apple general counsel and senior vice president Katherine Adams said that Judge Rogers’ decision should be viewed as a “huge win for Apple.” Adams underscored that Apple is “not a monopolist in any relevant market” based on today’s ruling, and that the decision “validated” the App Store business model.

Adams’ full statement follows:

We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling and we consider this a huge win for Apple. This decision validates that Apple’s “success is not illegal,” as the judge said. As the Court found “both Apple and third-party developers like Epic Games have symbiotically benefited from the ever-increasing innovation and growth in the iOS ecosystem.”

The Court has confirmed, after reviewing evidence from a 16-day trial, that Apple is not a monopolist in any relevant market and that its agreements with app developers are legal under the antitrust laws. Let me repeat that: the Court found that Apple is not a monopolist under “either federal or state antitrust laws.”

We are still analyzing the decision which is 180 pages long but the headline is that Apple’s App Store business model has been validated. The Court correctly rejected Epic’s “artificial” view of the competitive environment in which Apple operates and determined that “developers like Epic Games have benefited from Apple’s development and cultivation of the iOS ecosystem, including its devices and underlying software.” Underlying the App Store business is a framework, including App Review, curation and protection of the security and privacy of our users. The Court has ruled that this framework is lawful and Apple was justified in terminating Epic’s status as a developer on the App Store. Apple’s rigorous process for app review protects consumers. As the Court observed, “security and privacy have remained a competitive differentiator for Apple.” The Court agreed, and I quote, that “by providing these protections, Apple provides a safe and trusted user experience on iOS, which encourages both users and developers to transact freely and is mutually beneficial.” Importantly, the Court also recognized the value of Apple’s ever-increasing innovation and growth of the iOS ecosystem.

In short, this is a resounding victory and underscores the merit of our business both as an economic and competitive engine.

Apple also noted that the decision from Judge Rogers finds no issue with Apple’s App Store in-app purchase requirement and applies only to steering customers toward outside payment options.

As for whether or not it plans to appeal the ruling related to anti-steering, Apple said that it is considering all options and that it has yet to process the entire 185-page decision from Judge Rogers. As such, the company also said it is still considering the implementation of the changes and there are no App Store changes to announce today.

The ruling gives Apple 90 days to comply with the required changes.

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Apple News+ Uk Diary: First Impressions Of The Uk Offering

Apple News+ launched in the UK yesterday, more than six months after it did so in the US.

I hadn’t been too impressed by the free offerings in Apple News and had actually removed the app from both my iPhone and iPad, but Apple News+ in the UK gave me a chance to re-evaluate it with its boosted content…

The name Apple News has always been somewhat misleading. What you get in reality are some newspapers and lots of magazines. That hasn’t changed. It would really be more accurate to name the service Apple Magazines (and Newspapers).

Indeed, the only UK newspaper added yesterday was The Times and its sister edition The Sunday Times. However, the Independent and Guardian were already on board the free offering so that does cover the three main papers for me.

But Apple sweetened the deal considerably by including access to two key US papers: the LA Times and Wall Street Journal.

I’m not really a magazine guy these days. When I reviewed Magzter Gold back in 2023, they gave me a one-year subscription, but I’d more-or-less stopped using it within a few weeks, and deleted the app long before the subscription expired.

Indeed the line between websites and magazines has now been blurred to such an extent, it’s not immediately obvious why the digital magazine format exists. My colleague Bradley made the same observation a few days ago.

The problem, in my opinion, is that people don’t care about digital magazines. We’ve tried this with the Daily magazine (which I enjoyed), with Newsstand, and now with Apple News+. The content isn’t necessarily the problem, but rather the packaging. Why do I care if an article is inside of an app that is then packaged inside of another thing? I want to read the article […]

If I wanted to read Athlon Sports on my iPad or iPhone, I’d be content just reading it on Safari with Reader View enabled. I don’t need it in a faux magazine to enjoy it.

I’m of much the same view. If a magazine has a website – and they all do – then I’ll tend to just go there.

That said, the deal does include three magazines worth money to me: New York, Scientific American, and The Atlantic.

So although I can look at the deal and on the one hand say I’m not getting many publications of interest to me, there’s another way of looking at it. Instead of saying Apple is selling me more than 150 publications, most of which don’t interest me, I can think of it as the company offering me a subscription to seven publications for just over a quid a month each. That’s a decent deal – with the bonus of a bunch of other magazines I might sample from time to time.

The big unknown with Apple News+ UK

The first big unknown for me at present is how much of the Times and WSJ we’re getting. Both publications say it’s not everything, but it isn’t clear what that really means. My colleague Benjamin Mayo has found that if you see a paywalled piece on the web, you can go to the share sheet and select Open in Apple News … and so far it’s always been there.

Archives are one difference we do know about, but I honestly can’t think of a time when I’ve wanted to look up an old article in a specific publication. If I’m searching for an old news story, it’s typically because I want to remember when exactly something happened or remind myself of some detail, and then any Google search does the job perfectly well.

There may be some sleight of hand going on here. The papers want to retain their direct subscribers, so they need to be able to say Apple News+ subscribers don’t get everything – and they reinforce this idea by limiting discoverability in the app – but there is perhaps much more there than it would appear.

I will get one clue. Quite a lot of paywalled Times pieces pop up in my Facebook newsfeed, so I’ll be able to see whether I’m able to access all of these in Apple News+.

The second unknown for me personally

Will I let it renew at the end of the month’s trial? I think that will be determined by two factors. First, as mentioned, whether or not I find missing content. Second, how often I actually open the app. I tend to get most of my news from the BBC News site and app, so when I read a paper, it’s more for long-form pieces: features and op-eds. And those are competing with other forms of entertainment, mostly books, social media, and the web.

If I do use the app regularly, and I do find all the content I want, then I think it’ll be a no-brainer. Let’s see …

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Netflix Enforces Password Sharing Rules In Us And Uk

Over the last few months, there have been rumblings and speculation about global streaming giant Netflix and when it would clamp down on U.S. users sharing passwords. Earlier this year, several countries in Latin America and Spain encountered the roadblock, noticing additional charges for the transgression. However, with very little fanfare, it seems that the tight restrictions are now targeting American and British Netflix users who participating in password sharing.

In the know: learn how Netflix lost a million subscribers over its password policing in Spain.

A Crack in the Stream

Netflix has been warning subscribers for some time that password sharing is against the streaming service’s terms and conditions. Initially, it turned a blind eye, then more recently, it announced plans to tackle the problem, starting with a trial run in several Latin American countries.

When Netflix detected logins that weren’t part of the household, it charged the account holder an additional $6 on top of the regular monthly fee. In some cases, this almost doubled the monthly subscription fee, leading many to cancel their service. Netflix’s actions were mostly contained to Latin America and a few other European countries. But in a recent business update, the changes are already activated in the U.K. and U.S. markets.

Image source: Pexels

“Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with – your household,” opens the stern email sent to identified password sharers. The email explains what subscribers can do to fix the situation, which includes transferring a profile or paying the additional $7.99 fee. 

There is a caveat, though. At the bottom of the email, in a tiny font, it explains that “Extra Member (is) currently unavailable for members billed through our partners.” That means you can’t do that if you pay for your Netflix subscription through a third-party, such as a streaming device or as part of an entertainment bundle.

Tip: read on for more information about Netflix cracking down on password sharing.

Image credit: Pexels

Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp is a technology writer with a strong focus on consumer gadgets, video games, and cyber security. He holds an undergraduate degree in professional journalism and has worked as a journalist for over 15 years. In his spare time, he enjoys playing various musical instruments and gardening.

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Apple Demanded Hugely Sensitive Steam Data As Part Of Its Legal Battle With Epic

Apple might position itself as the champion of privacy when it comes to personal data, but court records showed that the company demanded hugely sensitive data from game distribution service Steam to help in the battle with Epic Games.

The reason? Epic previously criticized Steam’s cut from game developers, accusing platform owner Valve of “sucking out a huge fraction of the profits from games.” Apple wanted to understand more about Valve’s business model with Steam in order to help it make its own case for the App Store. The data that Apple demanded from Valve – which is not even a party to the case – was pretty insane…

PC Gamer reports that Valve refused Apple’s demand, and now a court needs to rule on the matter. Here is the data Apple wanted, which its lawyers somehow described as a “very narrow” request:

And, in an additional request:

“(a) the name of each App on Steam; (b) the date range when the App was available on Steam; and (c) the price of the App and any in-app product available on Steam.”

That is, Apple wants Valve to provide the names, prices, configurations and dates of every product on Steam, as well as detailed accounts of exactly how much money Steam makes and how it is all divvied-up […]

Apple apparently demanded data on 30,000+ games initially, before narrowing its focus to around 600. Request 32 gets incredibly granular, Valve explains: Apple is demanding information about every version of a given product, all digital content and items, sale dates and every price change from 2023 to the present day, the gross revenues for each version, broken down individually, and all of Valve’s revenues from it.

Valve says not only that the data is incredibly valuable commercial information, but that it doesn’t even record the level of detail Apple wants – and, in any case, is not remotely involved in the dispute between Apple and Epic.

Valve says it does not “in the ordinary course of business keep the information Apple seeks for a simple reason: Valve doesn’t need it.”

Valve’s argument goes on to explain to the court that it is not a competitor in the mobile space (this is, after all, a dispute that began with Fortnite on iOS), and makes the point that “Valve is not Epic, and Fortnite is not available on Steam.” It further says that Apple is using Valve as a shortcut to a huge amount of third party data that rightfully belongs to those third parties.

The conclusion of Valve’s argument calls for the court to throw Apple’s subpoena out. “Somehow, in a dispute over mobile apps, a maker of PC games that does not compete in the mobile market or sell ‘apps’ is being portrayed as a key figure. It’s not. The extensive and highly confidential information Apple demands about a subset of the PC games available on Steam does not show the size or parameters of the relevant market and would be massively burdensome to pull together. Apple’s demands for further production should be rejected.”

It seems pretty hard to imagine that Apple could succeed here, but the legal world and common sense do not always align.

The Not Jony Ive parody account has a suggested compromise.

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Twitter Will Label Politician Tweets That Break Its Rules

Twitter will label politician tweets that break its rules

Twitter has something of a tricky situation on its hands. Sometimes, public figures – specifically, people in government – say things on Twitter that violate the company’s rules, forcing Twitter to make a tough decision. Does it enforce its rules and remove the offending tweet, or does it leave the tweet published because it’s in the public interest to do so?

It’s not a question that has an easy answer, but now it seems that Twitter has decided on something of a compromise. As tweeted by CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, Twitter will now in some cases leave tweets that break its rules published, but it will do so by flagging them with an alert that informs other users that the tweet breaks Twitter’s rules on abusive behavior.

— jack (@jack) June 27, 2023

Dorsey linked to a post on the Twitter blog which goes into more depth about this new alert and the thought process behind implementing it. The company explains that it’s important for users to be able to interact with their elected officials on platforms like Twitter, so even for tweets that violate the website’s rules, it still may be in the public’s interest to leave them accessible.

These new rules apply to only a limited number of accounts, it seems. Twitter says that the account must “be or represent a government official, be running for public office, or be considered for a government position.” That last bit applies to political appointees who may not need to be elected but still must go through a confirmation process. Accounts also must have more than 100,000 followers and be verified. It sounds like accounts that don’t meet those three conditions will have their tweets which break Twitter’s rules be removed.

Twitter shared an image of what the alert will look like, saying that it will appear your home timeline and other areas like search. The company then ran down of list of considerations it’ll make when it comes to deciding when to actually use this notice. Check out all of the factors Twitter will consider below:

• The immediacy and severity of potential harm from the rule violation, with an emphasis on ensuring physical safety;

• Whether preserving a Tweet will allow others to hold the government official, candidate for public office, or appointee accountable for their statements;

• Whether there are other sources of information about this statement available for the public to stay informed;

• If the Tweet provides a unique context or perspective not available elsewhere that is necessary to a broader discussion.

If a tweet violates Twitter’s rules but doesn’t meet fulfill considerations listed above, Twitter says that it will require the account owner to remove the tweet instead of placing its notice on it. Furthermore, tweets that are flagged with this alert will be less prominent across the service, as they won’t appear in safe search, explore, the notifications tab, push notifications, or the “Top Tweets” timeline view.

Twitters goal, it seems, is to make sure it uses this notice sparingly. “The notice won’t be applied to any Tweets sent before today and, given the conditions outlined above, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter it often,” the company wrote. “We cannot predict the first time it will be used, but we wanted to give you more information about this new notice before you come across it on Twitter.”

So, in walking a fine line between enforcing its rules and making sure the words of government officials stay accessible through its platform, this seems like a pretty good solution. We’ll see how often Twitter’s notice is used soon enough, but given the current political climate, Twitter might be a little optimistic when it says users shouldn’t expect to see it frequently.

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