Epic Games vs. Apple Trial Begins With Opening Remarks Underway

The first day of the bench trial between Fortnite creator Epic Games and Apple is officially underway, with the companies delivering opening remarks before District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in a Northern California courtroom.

fortnite apple featured
The saga dates back to August 2020, when Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games introduced a direct payment option in the app for its in-game currency V-Bucks, in defiance of the App Store rules. In what appears to have been an orchestrated move, Epic Games promptly filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of anti-competitive actions and describing the App Store as a monopoly.

Shortly after removing Fortnite from the App Store, Apple issued a statement saying that the App Store guidelines are applied equally to every developer, adding that Epic Games has benefitted from the App Store ecosystem for over a decade:

Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.

Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem - including its tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we're glad they've built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney was directing criticism at Apple for months before the lawsuit was filed. In June 2020, for example, he tweeted that "opening iOS and Android up as truly open platforms with a genuinely level playing field between first party and third party apps and stores is the only way to ensure a competitive, healthy, and fair app economy."

Sweeney has particularly taken issue with the 30% commission that Apple collects from sales of apps and select in-app purchases. Apple has since launched a Small Business Program that reduces the App Store's commission rate to 15% for developers earning up to $1 million per calendar year in net revenue from the sale of apps and in-app purchases. For developers exceeding this threshold, the 30% rate still applies.

We'll be updating this story as opening remarks from Epic Games and Apple and other notable details are shared during the trial. We'll also have continued coverage with highlights from the trial over the next few weeks.

Epic Games' Opening Remarks

Epic Games lawyers argued that the App Store and iOS as a whole are a "walled garden" and said that developers would not be interested in using Apple's in-app purchase system if it were optional. Epic Games lawyers then went through a series of emails from current and former Apple executives like Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and Steve Jobs that they believe supports this "walled garden" argument.

Epic Games lawyers argued that Apple's standard 30% commission on App Store purchases is monopolistic.

Apple's Opening Remarks

Apple lawyers argued that the App Store is curated, safe, reliable, and family friendly, and that the App Store ecosystem has served as an economic driver for over a decade, creating millions of jobs for developers.

Top Rated Comments

GizmoDVD Avatar
17 months ago
When Epic loses this, we can all have a good laugh at Tim Sweeny
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sebosz Avatar
17 months ago

I hope Epic goes bankrupt.
Imagine being that dedicated to a multi billion company that doesn’t care about anything but your money.
Let them fight, both companies made some good points.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Spinn_ Avatar
17 months ago
I hope Epic goes bankrupt.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
countryside Avatar
17 months ago
Tim, CRUSH THEM!

Edit: I meant Tim Cook.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iStorm Avatar
17 months ago
You know, Epic Games do have a logo... Fortnight characters ain't it.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sime0n Avatar
17 months ago
All these Apple fanboys acting like the AppStore is some big favor Apple is doing for us. I love Apple devices but you are kidding yourself if you think they deserve 30%.

back in the pre-mobile era nobody gave Apple or windows a cut of software. That should be how it goes back to. You can use Apple App Store and pay cut or else just go straight to website and download the app you want.

Does anyone want the iOS method to come to Mac where every app must go through Apple store and You have to pay a 30% commission if you buy anything?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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