EU targets Big Tech with “hit list” facing tougher rules

A Facebook logo in front of an EU flag in this photo illustration on November 20, 2017.
Enlarge / A Facebook logo in front of an EU flag in this photo illustration on November 20, 2017.

EU regulators are drawing up a “hit list” of up to 20 large Internet companies, likely to include Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook and Apple, that will be subject to new and far more stringent rules aimed at curbing their market power.

Under the plans, large platforms that find themselves on the list will have to comply with tougher regulation than smaller competitors, according to people familiar with the discussions, including new rules that will force them to share data with rivals and an obligation to be more transparent on how they gather information.

The list will be compiled based on a number of criteria, including market share of revenues and number of users, meaning the likes of Facebook and Google are likely to be included. Those deemed to be so powerful that rivals cannot trade without using their platforms could also be added.

The move to gain new powers is part of a growing effort in Brussels to force big technology companies to change their business practices without a full investigation or any finding that they have broken existing laws.

It follows complaints that the current regulatory regime has resulted in weak and belated action, which has done little to foster competition.

The number of companies and the precise criteria for the list is still being discussed, but it is the latest indication of how serious the EU is about coming up with powers to limit the power of platforms seen as “too big to care.”

“The immense market power of these platforms is not good for competition,” said a person with intimate knowledge of the discussions.

The proposals, which are still being discussed among senior EU officials, could

Antitrust investigation dubs App Store a monopoly, Microsoft adopts ‘app fairness’ rules, pandemic boosts Q3 app revenues

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the TechCrunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

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The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

Apple declared monopoly by U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust

Apple was one of the four big tech companies the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust declared as having enjoyed monopoly power in the U.S. The report suggests that Congress make changes to break up their businesses. In Apple’s case, the company was deemed to have market power in the app distribution business, meaning its App Store. The report agrees that while the App Store provides significant benefits to both consumers and developers, Apple has also controlled the App Store in a way that allows it to create barriers to competition and exploits developer data to its advantage.

Apple responded that it “vehemently” disagrees with the report’s conclusions…”with respect to Apple.”:

Our company does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business. From its beginnings 12 years ago with just 500 apps, we’ve built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for users to discover and download apps and a supportive way for developers to create and sell apps globally. Hosting close

US judge rules Apple could bar Epic Games’s ‘Fortnite’ from App Store

  • A US judge in California ruled Friday that Apple could bar Epic Games’s “Fortnite” game from its App Store, but the tech company must not harm Epic’s developer tools business.
  • “The Court maintains its findings from the temporary restraining order and hereby grants in part and denies in part Epic Games’ motion for a preliminary injunction,” District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled.
  • Last month, Epic Games had filed for a preliminary injunction that would put its game back in the App Store and restore its developer account after Apple terminated Epic Games’ account on its App Store.
  • Epic sued Apple in August alleging anticompetitive behavior. The lawsuit came after Epic rolled out its own payment system in the popular Fortnite video game.
  • Apple does not allow such alternative payment systems and removed Fortnite from the App Store and threatened to terminate Epic’s developer accounts, which would have affected Epic’s other business of selling software used to create games.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

(Reuters) – A federal judge in California on Friday ruled in an injunction request that Apple Inc could bar Epic Games’s “Fortnite” game from its App Store but must not harm Epic’s developer tools business, which includes the “Unreal Engine” software used by hundreds of other video games.

“The Court maintains its findings from the temporary restraining order and hereby grants in part and denies in part Epic Games’ motion for a preliminary injunction,” District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled.

Epic Games and Apple were not immediately available for comment on the ruling.

Last month, Epic Games had filed for a preliminary injunction that would put its game back in the App Store and restore its developer account after the iPhone maker terminated Epic Games’ account on its App Store.

Epic sued Apple in August,

Apple does not need to return Fortnite to App Store, judge rules

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge ruled Friday that Apple did not need to reinstate the popular video game Fortnite in its App Store, in a blow to Fortnite’s parent company, Epic Games, which is locked in an antitrust battle with the tech giant over its app store fees and rules.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California said in her ruling that Apple’s ban of the game could continue because Epic had violated its contract with Apple. There is “significant public interest” in requiring companies to adhere to contracts or resolve disputes through the normal course, she wrote.

But Gonzales Rogers also said that Apple could not ban Unreal Engine, Epic’s developer tools, from its platforms because of the “potential significant damage to both developers and gamers” who rely on the software.

The mixed ruling showed the high cost of taking on a tech behemoth like Apple, even for an established company like Epic. The 116 million people who have accessed Fortnite through Apple’s systems will continue to be kept away while Epic and Apple prepare for a trial in the case, which is scheduled for May.

An Epic spokeswoman said the company “is grateful that Apple will continue to be barred from retaliating against Unreal Engine and our game development customers.” Epic will continue developing for Apple’s platforms and “pursue all avenues to end Apple’s anti-competitive behavior,” she said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Epic’s battle with Apple comes as the largest tech companies face scrutiny of their power. On Tuesday, House lawmakers said Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google had exercised and abused their monopoly power to stifle competition and harm consumers and recommended that the companies be restructured. European regulators have also opened an investigation into whether Apple’s app

U.S. judge rules Apple could bar Epic Games’s ‘Fortnite’ from App Store

(Reuters) – A federal judge in California on Friday ruled in an injunction request that Apple Inc AAPL.O could bar Epic Games’s “Fortnite” game from its App Store but must not harm Epic’s developer tools business, which includes the “Unreal Engine” software used by hundreds of other video games.

“The Court maintains its findings from the temporary restraining order and hereby grants in part and denies in part Epic Games’ motion for a preliminary injunction,” District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled.

Epic Games and Apple were not immediately available for comment on the ruling.

Last month, Epic Games had filed for a preliminary injunction that would put its game back in the App Store and restore its developer account after the iPhone maker terminated Epic Games’ account on its App Store.

Epic sued Apple in August, claiming that the company’s 30% commission on some in-app purchases made through its App Store, combined with Apple’s controls over what apps users can download to their iPhones, constituted anticompetitive behavior. The lawsuit came after Epic rolled out its own payment system in the popular Fortnite video game.

Apple does not allow such alternative payment systems and removed Fortnite from the App Store and threatened to terminate Epic’s developer accounts, which would have affected Epic’s other business of selling software used to create games.

Epic moved to stop Apple from taking both steps. The judge previously issued an emergency order that allowed Apple to pull Epic’s titles from the App Store but barred the iPhone maker from taking any action that would harm Epic’s developer tools.

“Epic Games has strong arguments regarding Apple’s exclusive distribution through the iOS App Store, and the in-app purchase (“IAP”) system through which Apple takes 30% of certain IAP payments”, the judge said in