Apple, Epic, & Margins

Apple keeps being attacked from all angles. They might just possibly lose this case if they can’t provide any solid evidence against Epic Games.

Apple cannot even prove that they’re capable of keeping the App Store safe. Tim Sweeney has hit a home run.

Which side do you believe the burden of proof to be on?

1 Like

I have yet to decide that.

See, I think this has already been decided for us by the nature of the court system. I think that’s where we differ.

Since the primary suit that matters is Epic’s suit against Apple, the burden of proof is on Epic. And their job is not to demonstrate that Apple has done something to offend public sensibilities, or that Apple perhaps “played favorites” in allowing early access to some features, but rather to prove that Apple’s actions were in fact either (a) a violation of the contract between Apple and Epic or (b) outright illegal.

And in a countersuit it’s reversed.

Both. This is not criminal law - it’s commercial litigation.

How the burden is shared depends on the preconceptions of judge and jury

But even in commercial law, Epic still has to show that Apple has done something to either breach the contract or violate law, don’t they? I mean, Epic agreed to the contract. And apparently they did so happily for many years.

If you’re saying a company like Apple can uphold the terms of contracts as written, not have violated any laws or other relevant government regulations, and still be expected to lose even though Epic didn’t prove their case because of the previously-held biases of judge and jury, I think the system can safely be declared to be broken.

I read both articles. What are you talking about?

You’re right to a point.

The original question was “who has the burden of proof?”. My point was that, while in criminal cases, the burden of proof is explicitly on the prosecution, in civil cases it’s not as clear-cut.

Yes, Epic have to make a case that their suit is justified - they have to show that Apple broke a contract or engaged in uncompetitive behaviour AND that as a result Epic was damaged.

If the burden’s all on Epic, all Apple has to do is show that Epic’s case isn’t made. But so much depends on the preconceptions - there’s a lot of room for interpretation and bias.

So Apple probably needs to do more than just show weaknesses in the Epic case - they may need to prove that what they do is fair to developers, that they don’t have an unfair advantage, that Epic has not been damaged etc.

Hence my view that the burden is on both.

The Apple iBooks case is a good example- the court held that Apple had an unfair monopoly in ebook sales - in market absolutely dominated by Amazon.

1 Like

It’ll be interesting to see how that works out with all the other intersecting issues. In principle, I’m a “right to repair” sort of guy. But Apple has some (IMHO) compelling security arguments for at least certain things they do that are arguably consumer-hostile. Specifically, things like disallowing third-party TouchID sensors due to security concerns.

I think it might be interesting for Apple to decide to make OEM parts generally available for its products, and thereby declare that they’ve done what they need to. OEM parts would allow “repair” in the strictest sense of the word, while still offering Apple the opportunity to demonstrate that a given repair was done improperly if it was done by a hack-job sort of repair shop.

Beyond that, some of the right-to-repair type claims - like devices needing to have upgradeable components, user-replaceable batteries, etc. would have ripple effects through the whole market. And arguably, if enacted solely against Apple, such requirements would disadvantage Apple in the marketplace as having user-replaceable batteries increases device bulkiness.

And the M1 - by design - is basically non-repairable with everything being integrated onto one chip (other than by replacing the chip itself). But it’s easy to argue that the design benefits the consumers due to increased performance, etc.

It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. :slight_smile:

1 Like

The thing that gets left out (I think) is the cost of even reasonable repairs.

“I should have the right to fix my phone”. Let’s say we grant that, and that we require OEMs to put processors and RAM chips in sockets (as opposed to direct-soldering). All phones get 2mm thicker across the board, and they’re now “repairable”.

I suppose you could be one of the geek types that tears into your own phone, but for the average person I think that by the time the replacement parts make it through the retail channel and they pay somebody to fix the unit the vast majority of consumers would see the price tag and be strongly considering a new device.

The exception is batteries. Those are consumable by their nature, and it would be really nice if Apple were to do one of two things:

  • Make it possible for the user to swap out their battery
  • Make the battery swap easy enough that an Apple Store tech could do it without significant risk of destroying your phone in the process.

That, combined with a relaxing of the “your device has to be in perfect condition for us to replace your battery” rule, would go a long way toward giving users the sort of “repair” they really want without the more onerous restrictions that could otherwise come down from the government.

1 Like

Like most things Apple there are at least two sides to the question of repairability. But right to repair goes way beyond smartphones. And yes “a lot of Apple products are difficult to fix.” And sometimes impossible.