Apple Epic Court Case Begins With Apple Defending it’s App Moderation

The trial between Apple and Epic has begun. The long anticipated trial is about whether or not Apple is being anti-competitive in their app store.

The Apple vs. Epic saga, remember that? Back in August of 2020, Epic initiated a lawsuit against Apple after Fortnite got kicked out of the Apple app store. The reason Apple kicked the game out of its app store is because it allowed users to circumvent their Apple pay system. Apple, of course, gets a percentage of the transactions that flow through their payment processor.

What Epic did with Fortnite is offer two methods of payment: pay with Apple Pay or pay directly to them to purchase so-called “v-bucks”. The prices, of course, were different because the direct method didn’t involve Apple’s fees. This, of course, is a violation of the terms and conditions of the Apple app store. So, it isn’t a surprise that such a high profile game got the boot.

This case ended up being one of those cases where it was hard to feel sorry for anyone involved, really. Epic, after all, admitted in court that they were knowingly evading Apple’s fees. Apple, for its part, tried to ban the Unreal Engine in the process – an app that had nothing to do with the case in the first place. A judge had to step in and say that Unreal Engine can stay because it has nothing to do with the case. In response, Apple then straight up banned Epic’s developer account, pulling all of their games from the app store in the process.

While it isn’t likely going to affect the case, Epic probably felt somewhat vindicated when European regulators decided to move forward with an anti-trust prove against Apple over how it charges people.

As for the judge only case, it seems that things are finally moving ahead with the court case. From CNBC:

Epic Games argued that Apple purposely locks in its customers in the first day of a landmark trial with Apple over the rules of the App Store.

Apple is arguing that it built the App Store and gets to set the rules, which are designed to ensure that apps are high quality and secure.

“Epic wants us to be Android, but we don’t want to be. And our consumers don’t want that either. They want the choice,” Apple lawyer Karen Dunn said.

On Monday, Apple’s and Epic’s lawyers both made their opening statements, and Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney testified. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

There is, of course, the potential in this case to force app store owners to open their walled garden’s up to some degree. That, of course, may be a tall order given that it is Apple’s service and, therefore, their rules.

Still, it is early days into this trial and we are basically at the first level in the court system. It’s unclear how long this case will take, but you also have the length of time it takes to go through all the appeals processes as well. Depending on how things go, we could be in for a multi-year long court case for all we know. So, it’s unlikely we’ll see any kind of conclusion any time soon. Still, it is worth noting that we are moving forward in this case now.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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