Apple wants Valve to hand over a lot of information about how much money they make. Valve is unwilling. This is a two-sentence summary of a joint discovery letter I submitted yesterday as part of an ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games over Fortnite and Apple App Store fees.
What is the relationship between Valve, Apple and Epic? Val said, not much.
Since August of last year, Epic and Apple have been preparing to fight in court, when Epic added a payment method to Fortnite on iOS, bypassing Apple’s usual 30% reduction in total service sales. Apple immediately removed Fortnite from the App Store; Epic immediately released the ironic animated short suit. Since then, the two companies have been stepping up preparations and attacking each other.
As part of these preparations, Apple hopes Valve will share its business information. Apple’s goal is to prove “the total market size of digital distribution channels available to Epic” and believes that Steam’s data (as a digital distribution channel for games such as Fortnite (but not Fortnite)) is crucial in this task. The discovery letter stated that Apple and Valve talked over the phone many times and Valve was helpful, but Valve refused to answer two specific requests. They are request 2 and request 32.
Apple believes that requirement 2 is “very narrow.”
Request 32 requires “documents sufficient to display the following: (a) the name of each app on Steam; (b) the date range that the app is available on Steam; and (c) the price of the app and any in-app products on Steam Available.”
“Valve chose not to sell publicly, partly to avoid the burden of information disclosure by listed companies”
Valve stated, “Apple’s requirements will place a great burden on Valve to query, process, and merge large amounts of content to create the files Apple seeks-materials that Valve does not create or retain in the normal course of business-and almost none Value because Valve cannot compete in the controversial mobile app market.”
Apple initially obviously wanted to obtain information about “all over 30,000 games on Steam in ten years”, but reduced it to “436 games in six years,” but Valve believes that this is simply “making impossible tasks even more difficult.” not enough.
There is another dispute about the “5th batch of products”, the content of which was provided to Apple by Valve in a partially edited form. Apple hopes not to edit, and argues that if “competitive sensitivity is the real issue” and does not provide an unedited version, then the court’s “protection order” for the materials provided in the case should resolve this issue.
Valve did say that competition is part of their concern. “Valve chose to remain privatized, in part, to avoid companies like Samsung or Google from being burdened by public company disclosure and reporting requirements. Valve does not disclose its sales and revenue information and forecasts. Valve has generated considerable value from such information. Confidentiality stands out, including excluding it from the hands of companies like Epic that also sell PC games.”
The case between Apple and Epic is expected to begin trial this summer.