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How Fortnite’s epic battle with Apple could reshape the antitrust fight

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When Tim Cook finished up his appearance in front of the House Judiciary panel in July, the conventional wisdom was that the Apple CEO had gotten off easy. He was joined by Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos, and each one seemed to have more to worry about. In the face of Google’s looming indictment and Facebook’s terrifying history of election interference, who could really care about App Store policies?

But after Epic’s dramatic attack on those same App Store policies, the questions directed at Cook feel a little more pointed — with one exchange, in particular, standing out. About an hour into the hearing, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) started questioning Cook about App Store policies, specifically the decision in April to let Amazon Prime video rentals skirt the commission.

“Is that reduced commission, such as the one Amazon Prime gets, available to other app developers?” Johnson asked.

“It’s available to anyone meeting the conditions, yes,” Cook replied, an elegant dodge.

Johnson went back and forth with Cook, focusing specifically on the company’s payment processing requirements — a point that was raised in Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit.

Johnson finished with a question that now seems almost prophetic: “Has Apple ever retaliated against or disadvantaged a developer who went public with their frustrations with the App Store?”

“Sir, we do not retaliate or bully people,” Cook said flatly. “It’s strongly against our company culture.”

The last week has put that culture to the test. Since Epic’s lawsuit was filed on Thursday, Apple has threatened to cut off Epic’s ability to distribute developer tools, according to a recent court motion. The fight has escalated far beyond the question of in-app purchase fees, and it’s hard to see it as anything other than retaliation for the lawsuit.

It’s a sign of how heated the App Store fight has become in just a few short days and how fiercely Apple is willing to defend its commission system. That 30 percent commission is baked into the core of Apple’s business. Epic’s project of unwinding it is a major antitrust undertaking, one that Cook will fight at every step.

But Epic won’t be fighting alone. The tech antitrust hearing covered many of the same points as Epic’s lawsuit — some in the same exact language. That’s not proof of collusion, exactly. (These ideas have been circulating for years in tech critic circles.) But it’s a sign of how much support those ideas have in Washington and how likely it is that regulators will intervene on Epic’s side.

It’s a major test of the ideas we heard in the tech antitrust hearing — and there are plenty of other challenges waiting if Epic finds success. Yelp has been trying to stage a similar moment with Google for a solid decade, and there are plenty of companies that would like to take on Amazon in a similar way. Apple was the first target, and the easiest, but it won’t be the last.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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