Last week saw the court ruling in the Apple versus Epic case and after the dust has settled it seems pretty clear Apple came out largely on top. But join the Macalope, if you will, in pondering the question… What If? (Not to be confused with the popular Disney+/Marvel show of the same name. All rights reserved. Void where prohibited.)
What if Apple was not the big winner of the Epic court battle?
“Epic Wins Big in Case Against Apple” (Tip o’ the antlers to @brianericford via @shepgo.)
Writing from a parallel universe in which the judge made seemingly the exact same ruling but it was totally cool for Epic instead of Apple is our old friend Paul Thurrott. (Disclaimer: not actually a friend.)
According to Thurrott:
Effective December 9, 2021, developers will finally be free of the onerous 15 or 30 percent fees that Apple applies to all App Store purchases…
Wow, they will?!
No, dear reader, they will not! At least not because of this ruling. In fact, the judge specifically said Apple was entitled to compensation for the use of its intellectual property, if she said she saw no real reason it needed to be 30 percent.
The one (and only) ruling Apple lost was related to Apple’s anti-steering provision. Starting in December, developers will be able to direct customers to other ways of paying, but Apple can still charge them a commission, which might require an audit of their annual accounting.
Congratulations, developers! You can now charge outside of the App Store! Please forward your accounting firm’s phone number to Apple. They’re about to get very busy.
That alone is probably enough to keep a good number of developers using Apple’s payment mechanism. Who wants Jeff Williams calling you to ask if all your Bleepbloop coins are listed on page 14? You just know Jeff’s an early riser.
Thurrott somehow still believes this is as bad for Apple and a big win for Epic.
Naturally, Apple will appeal this ruling…
Meanwhile, back in this timeline…
“Epic appeals against Apple App Store ruling”
In a follow-up post, Thurrott seems to believe that Epic is only appealing for the good of humanity and certainly not because it wants to be able to charge a gazillion teenagers for a whole mess of impulse micro-transactions without Apple taking any of it.
Please. Please. Do not bring your cynical sensibilities to this very serious moral argument about morals and stuff.
Apple, meanwhile, according to Thurrott, is only happy because “this is Apple: it will find a way to recoup any losses it incurs if and when it’s forced to allow third-party payments systems into its ecosystems.” Do you mean ways that are specifically outlined by the judge as legal and to be expected? Those ways?
It’s worth noting that while the Macalope might think the justice was done here according to the letter of the law, he does not think all is well. Apple regularly abuses its relationship with developers by making them jump through inconsistent and arbitrary hoops in order to just get into a system in which they have to give up to 30 percent of their revenue for the privilege. While the company is probably right to celebrate this ruling, it continues to ignore the frustration with App Store policies at its peril.