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經濟學人:神仙打架:蘋果vsEpic(2)

來源:經濟學人 編輯:Melody   VIP免費外教試聽課 |  可可官方微信:ikekenet
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The Epic case may hinge on how the court defines the relevant market. In Apple’s eyes the App Store is part of a broader universe of digital platforms in which it can reasonably claim not to be a monopolist. Epic takes a narrower view, arguing that iPhones are a market unto themselves.

Epic案件的結果可能取決於法院如何界定相關市場。在蘋果公司看來,蘋果應用商店只是龐大數字平台的一部分,它可以合理地宣稱自己不是壟斷企業。Epic則持有狹隘的觀點,它認為蘋果手機本身就是一個市場。
Most lawyers think Apple had the better of the initial exchanges. The judge seemed unconvinced by Apple’s attempts to stop Epic from updating the iPhone version of the software behind “Fortnite”, which is licensed to other gamesmakers. But she reserved her strongest words for Epic, which she admonished for inviting trouble.
大多數律師認為,蘋果公司在最初的幾次交鋒中佔了上風。法官似乎並不相信蘋果公司試圖阻止Epic升級iPhone版“堡壘之夜”,因為這款遊戲已經授權給了其他遊戲開發者。但法官對Epic疾言厲色,她警告説Epic是在自找麻煩。
The case looks likely to go to a jury trial next year. With no clear precedent, big ramifications for the tech industry and the odds that the losing party will appeal, the dispute may end up in the Supreme Court.
這個案子看起來很可能在明年由陪審團審理。由於沒有明確的先例、案子對科技產業影響重大、以及敗訴方存在上訴的可能性,這場糾紛最終可能會在最高法院進行。

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In the meantime, Apple is facing other pressures. Epic is being cheered on by fellow members of the “Coalition for App Fairness”, like Spotify, a music-streamer, and Match Group, owner of Tinder and other dating apps. In June, at Spotify’s urging, the EU opened an antitrust probe into the App Store, and David Cicilline, who chairs a committee in America’s Congress that examines antitrust issues, described Apple’s fees as “highway robbery” and lamented the lack of “real competition” on iPhones.

與此同時,蘋果公司還面臨着其它壓力。Epic公司目前得到了“應用程序公平聯盟”成員的支持,比如音樂軟件公司Spotify和Tinder等其他約會應用的所有者Match Group。今年6月,在Spotify的敦促下,歐盟對蘋果應用程序展開了反壟斷調查。美國眾議院司法委員會反壟斷小組委員會負責人戴維·西西蘭將蘋果的收費行為描述成是“攔路搶劫”,並痛惜蘋果手機上缺乏“真正的競爭”。
While it battles Epic in the courts, Apple may tweak its rules to placate some developers. It has done so on occasion in the past, for instance exempting Amazon from the 30% commission on in-app purchases for the e-commerce giant’s Prime Video streaming app. On September 25th, following criticism from Facebook, Apple announced a temporary waiver on the 30% fee on in-app purchases for companies that had been forced by the covid-19 pandemic to switch to online-only events.
儘管蘋果在法庭上與Epic公司明爭暗鬥,但它可能也會為安撫一些應用開發商對應用商店規則進行調整。這樣的行為過去也時有發生,比如,蘋果曾免除電商巨頭亞馬遜旗下流媒體Prime Video內購的30%抽成。9月25日,受到Facebook指責的蘋果公司宣佈,針對那些因新冠疫情而被迫轉向線上活動的公司,暫時免除它們應用內購的30%抽成。
Such concessions may be as far as Apple will go, at least willingly. When Steve Jobs launched the App Store in 2008, he didn’t think it would ever make much money. He was wrong. Although the company does not break out the platform’s financial results, it probably makes up the bulk of its services business, which accounts for nearly 20% of revenues—and rising, as iPhone sales slow. Seeing what a promising profit engine it has turned into, Apple’s late boss would doubtless have fought tooth and nail to hang on to it.
這樣的讓步可能已經是蘋果所能做的極限了,至少它是自願的。史蒂夫·喬布斯在2008年推出蘋果應用商店時,並未想過它能賺到很多錢。但他錯了。儘管蘋果公司從未公佈過應用商店平台的財政業績,但它可能是蘋果服務業務的主要組成部分。蘋果公司的服務業務佔總收入的近20%,而且伴隨蘋果手機銷量緩慢,這一比重還在上漲。眼看着蘋果應用商店變成了前途光明的利潤引擎,這位已故的蘋果老闆必定會竭盡全力地堅持下去。

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