But by taking on Apple so directly and publicly, Epic – a 29-year-old private company worth $ 17.3 billion based in Curry, North Carolina – could be involved in the battle of its life. Apple has a market capitalization of nearly $ 2 trillion and almost unlimited resources. Last month, it cut off support for Epic’s Unreal Engine, a software development tool used by thousands of developers. This surprised the smaller company.
“We recognized the theoretical possibility in advance, but we thought it would be so foolish for Apple to stop Unreal Engine,” said Tim Sweeney, Epic̵
In court on Monday, Judge Gonzalez Rodgers sharply criticized Epic’s decision last month to violate Apple’s payment rules. “There are a lot of people in the public who think you’re heroes for what you’ve done, but it’s still not fair,” she said.
Epic claims that removing Fortnite from the App Store has caused him irreparable damage. But Judge Gonzalez Rodgers noted that Epic’s advertising campaign around the battle, including a parody video of Apple’s famous 1984 ad and the hashtag #FreeFortnite, may have increased the company’s goodwill.
Epic’s attorney, Catherine B. Forest, a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, defended the ad campaign.
“When you take over the biggest company in the world and you know it’s going to get revenge, you don’t go to the streets and you don’t die,” she said. “You plan very carefully.”
Apple has said it will restore Fortnite to its App Store only if Epic follows its rules.
“They don’t need urgent help from this court – they have the keys to releasing Fortnite right there in their pocket,” said Apple lawyer Theodore J. Booths Jr., partner at Gibson Dunn.