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Apple wins delay in Epic case, Amazon fined $1.3 billion by Italy's antitrust regulators

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Yahoo Finance's Daniel Howley details the latest in the court case between Apple and Epic Games, in addition to reporting on fines Amazon has received from the Italian government for its market dominance.

Video Transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: In today's episode of arbitrary numbers that we like to talk about because they're neat, Apple is getting real flirty with that $3 trillion market cap, and $182.85 is the magic number to get there. We're slowly getting closer $176. At least 30 minutes into the trading day on this Thursday is where we're at.

This coming as the company secured a delay to court-mandated changes to its App Store. Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley for a little bit more on this. And, Dan, it seems like these types of updates come daily, but this update concerns the legal battle I believe with the "Fortnite" maker Epic Games, right? What's the update there.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, so originally when that ruling came down, the judge in that case had said that Apple wasn't operating as an illegal monopoly, but it did have kind of antisteering measures in place. Basically it was ensuring that customers had to use its own payment method, which then had developers have to pay a 30% or 15% fee for each purchase to Apple.

Now, what the judge in the case had said was that she wants Apple to open up the payment systems, not just for Apple's own services or payment service but to third-party options, meaning that you would be able to pay for things not necessarily using Apple's payment method but maybe something, in the case of "Fortnite," through Epic.

How exactly that works out was never really determined. They could eventually add a button for people to use their own payment options, or there could be a link out off of an app to make a payment. It depends on how that all shakes out.

But for now, Apple was originally supposed to put this into place by today. Last night or yesterday, there was a hold put on that until the entire appeals process goes through. Apple's appealing that ruling. So now Apple does not have to allow developers to add a Buy button until the appeals process is completed, which could be some time now. So they did buy themselves more opportunity, but we don't really know how the case is going to end up going.

And by the way, this isn't the only antitrust spotlight that's being shined on Apple. The DOJ is supposedly putting together its own case about the company related to its control over iOS and the iPhone. So that could come down to just, you know, whether or not they have the evidence to show that they're operating as an illegal monopoly. That also comes, by the way, as Google and Facebook and Amazon are all being examined for breaking monopoly laws or antitrust laws.

So it really is kind of an interesting aspect here for Apple in and of itself because it's not a huge chunk of the business. Obviously the services part is a large part, but this is the App Store. They want to continue to control that. Apple says that it's about security and customer experience. Developers, though, say it's about taking money away from them and increasing prices for customers along the way.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, maybe some people at Apple doing the floss "Fortnite" dance with that last-minute delay there.

But I want to shift gears and go over to Italy right now for some updates on Amazon because the antitrust regulator in Italy coming down with a $1.3 billion fine on antitrust grounds. What can you tell us about that?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, this has to do with Amazon's kind of benefits for their own shipping capability. So when you ship with Amazon, if you have that deal, you get to be a Prime member. You get to show up on the site for Cyber Monday and Black Friday and big events like that.

So there are benefits to being a Prime member and using Amazon's fulfillment service rather than a third party, and Italy's competition regulator essentially says that that's disadvantaging the smaller shipping companies in the country that would otherwise work with Amazon because people see that they're not going to get the benefits of something like a Prime, that kind of good spot that they could get on the home screen. And they say, well, we're not going to go with those third-party shippers. We're going to have to go with Amazon if we really want to sell our goods.

So the competition authority there coming down on Amazon with that $1 billion-plus fine, and this isn't the only fine that Amazon has seen in Europe in general. They've been hit with privacy-violation fines and things of that nature, and they're being investigated for antitrust in the European Union's European Commission. So it's not good news from them.

They've also obviously been hit in Washington, DC, by the attorney general there for antitrust violations, and we're still not sure about a federal antitrust suit. So really for Amazon, a lot going on in this space. I mean for tech in general, big tech in general, it really is just a menagerie of different types of lawsuits that they could possibly be facing or are facing. The one big tech company that's not, Yahoo Finance's Company of the Year, Microsoft.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, at least for right now, Dan. But again, you can see shares of Amazon not moving too much on that news, so it just seems like it's business as usual, at least for right now.

Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley, thanks so much.