Epic Games has released a Fortnite software update with the approval of Apple.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California said the landmark antitrust lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games, makers of the popular game Fortnite, is expected to be brought to trial in July 2021 for the coronavirus pandemic. In August of this year, Epic Games released a software update for its app that allowed users to bypass Apple's proprietary in-app payment system, which was in breach of the original contract with the software company.
A hearing at the end of September, which was broadcast live on the online meeting platform Zoom, was intended to determine whether Gonzalez Rogers would grant Epic's request for an injunction. Gonzalez told Epic more than once at the hearing that she was "not convinced of his arguments or his strategy". She added, "Epic knew it was in breach of its contract with Apple when it released the update, but it still did," accusing it of dishonesty.
Apple further argued that its App Store policies are in place to protect consumers from security risks and malicious software. Epic countered by claiming that it was a reputable company "that has been on the iOS App Store for years and is not a security threat." Gonzalez Rogers did not see the relevance, however.
Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash
“You did something, you lied about it by failing to do it because you weren't ready. That is the security problem. That is the security problem! "Gonzalez Rogers shot back." There are a lot of people in the public who consider you heroes for what you've done, but it's still not honest. "
Epic's attorneys acknowledged the breach of contract, but claimed Epic took the move because it "refused to comply with an anti-competitive contract and that litigation was part of Epic's plan".
"If you take over the world's largest company and run it where you know it will return the favor, don't lie in the streets and die," said Katherine Forrest, Epic's attorney. "You plan very carefully how you will react."
Epic Games has also alleged that Apple routinely abused its power and that the guidelines are detrimental to "innovation, competition and consumers."
"Tens of millions of iOS users have been harmed," claimed Epic in court documents, "through a retaliatory decision by Apple to remove Fortnite from the iOS App Store." The decision reflects Apple's iron control and unlawful maintenance of the monopoly. “The company called Apple's in-app payment system an" illegal bond ".
"Apple's in-app payment system, however, is not interconnected," Gonzalez Rogers replied. "I'm not particularly convinced. I just don't see this as a separate and standalone product. Walled gardens have existed for decades. Nintendo has had a walled garden. Sony has had a walled garden. Microsoft has had a walled garden. What Apple does is not much different. It's hard to ignore the economics of the industry, and that's what you're asking of me. "
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, "tries to be other developers' pied piper," said Apple's attorney Ted Boutrous. "Epic wants others to cheat, break [their] agreement [and] sneak into software to bypass app verification." A result in Epic's favor would be a "green light to other companies and that would be very dangerous".
The judge in Apple's "Fortnite" case criticizes Epic's tactics and gives clues about the trial date in July