Today, Apple and Epic games will be meeting in court to decide, whether or not Apple is running a monopoly in its App Store and whether it should be allowed to take a 30 percent cut of revenue from purchases made using its in-app purchase system. The case could change the way we use our smartphones.
How is Epic Games involved in this? In August last year, Epic Games laid a trap for Apple. Its hit game Fortnite implemented its own in-app payment – bypassing Apple’s 30% charges. Apple promptly kicked Epic Games off the App Store.
But Epic Games was waiting for just that. It slapped Apple with a 65-page lawsuit – and had even prepared a high production video, a spoof of Apple’s iconic 1984 advert for the Apple Mac.
Epic Games has for years claimed the charges imposed on it by Apple are extortionate. Their argument is simple: that Apple’s control over the App Store is anti-competitive. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is overseeing the case. It’s being held in federal court in Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco. Both sides agreed to a “bench trial,” which means there won’t be a jury. Instead, the case will be decided by Rogers. The judge made it clear she doesn’t view Epic as a particularly sympathetic victim, she admonished Epic for its tactics ahead of the lawsuit: Epic says it knew it was violating Apple’s rules, but Epic has argued in court that they amount to an illegal contract. Epic was, in essence, baiting Apple into kicking it off the App Store.
The trial is expected to conclude in the last week of May. However, even if Apple wins, the fight over how Apple runs its App Store will rage on.