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Epic Video games could not show Apple was a monopoly, rule decide

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Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc, 08/25/2021.

Leah Millis | Reuters

A federal judge in California ruled Friday that Epic Games failed to prove Apple is a monopoly.

However, it left open the possibility that Apple’s alleged monopoly status could be proven.

“Although the court finds that Apple has a significant market share of over 55% and exceptionally high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust behavior. Success is not illegal,” wrote US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

“The final study results contained no evidence of other critical factors, such as barriers to entry and declining production or innovation in the relevant market,” she wrote. “The court does not think this is impossible; only that Epic Games failed to prove that Apple is an illegal monopoly.”

This is an important development for other parties who may be considering legal action against Apple for antitrust reasons. Politico reported earlier this week that the Justice Department is waiting for Epic Games to decide how to proceed with its own investigation into Apple.

On the one hand, the ruling could seem daunting to Justice Department prosecutors, attorneys general, or private parties who may be considering legal action. On the other hand, it offers a chance to get more evidence to influence a court’s opinion on Apple’s alleged monopoly power.

The judge awarded Epic a partial victory, ruling that Apple has committed anti-competitive behavior by not allowing developers to directly notify their customers of their own payment mechanisms to be used in place of Apple. She ordered Apple to allow developers to add external links to their own tools in addition to Apple’s in-app purchase mechanism.

This remedy could alleviate some of the most pressing concerns developers have raised about the Apple model. As app makers have become more open about Apple’s practices in recent years, the company has slowly adjusted its policies, which may make further legal action against the company less attractive to regulators and competitors who rely on their services.

WATCH: Apple’s battle with Epic Games is part of a larger cartel battle

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