The long-awaited Epic Games vs. Apple launched today in federal court in Oakland, California, with lawyers of the two companies, who made introductory remarks to District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers.
Epic Games’ lawyers tried to portray the App Store as anti-competitive and monopolistic, noting that developers were forced to use the in-app purchasing system in Apple’s application and thus paid Apple a 30% sales commission. (The price drops to 15% for subscriptions after the first year and for qualified developers who sign up for Apple’s new small business program and earn less than $ 1 million per calendar year in net revenue.)
Epic Games described the App Store as a “fenced garden” and provided emails from current and former Apple executives such as Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Craig Federi, Eddie Kew and Scott Forstal in an attempt to prove it.
Epic Games wants Apple to be forced to allow third-party iOS app stores and allow developers to offer direct payment systems, but Apple says it needs a highly prepared App Store to protect security, privacy , the reliability and quality that customers have come to expect from the company.
“Epic wants us to be Android, but we don’t want to be,” said Apple lawyer Karen Dunn, referring to the possibility of side-loading apps outside the Google Play store on Android devices. “Our consumers don’t want that either,” she added.
Epic Games is the creator of the popular game Battle Royale Fortnite, which Apple removed from the App Store in August 2020, shortly after Epic Games cleverly introduced the option of direct payment in the application, in violation of the rules of the App Store. Epic Games then filed an organized lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of anti-competitive behavior.
At the time, Apple said Epic Games “took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines, which apply equally to every developer and are designed to keep the store safe for our users,” adding that it would “lay all efforts to work with Epic to resolve these violations so that they can return Fortnite to the App Store. “However, Epic Games refused to cooperate and Fortnite remained unavailable in the App Store.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney testified during the trial today, saying that by introducing the direct payment option, he wants users to see that Apple has “full control” over iOS and the software available on the platform.
The trial is expected to last a total of three weeks, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives expected to testify.