Epic Games and Apple will face off in court starting next July
During Monday’s hearing, Judge Gonzalez Rogers took Epic to task for creating the mess that it finds itself in. The judge stated that Epic was well aware of Apple’s regulations that prevent a developer from listing an app on the App Store and collecting in-app payments for it directly through the developer’s own payment platform. Instead, Apple demands that all in-app payments for apps listed in the App Store go through its own in-app payment system with Apple taking a 30% cut of such payments.
Apple agrees with the judge, exclaiming that Epic is responsible for the problem and can easily fix things by issuing an update for the game that goes along with Apple’s guidelines. Apple noted that it doesn’t plan to “make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers.” The company, as is its wont, defends its App Store by pointing out that Apple helped Epic earn “hundreds of millions of dollars from the sales of in-app content.”
Apple claims that Epic is using this legal battle against it in order to generate publicity for Fortnite. Apple states that interest in the game has been waning, a claim that Epic denies. Interestingly, the developer claims that once Fortnite users are introduced to Epic’s own direct payment platform, half of them prefer it to Apple’s in-app system. Apple responds that the 50% are responding to the lower price for Fortnite using Epic’s platform ($7) vs. the slightly higher price using Apple’s payment platform ($10). That $3 difference comes from the 30% cut Apple receives.
Apple’s attorneys actually had a brilliant response, noting that even with the extra $3 that App Store users pay for Fortnite over the tech giant’s in-app purchasing system, 50% stick with Apple’s IAP because of the safety and security associated with Apple’s platform.
Both sides have appeared to have dug in their heels. Epic says that it will not make Fortnite comply with Apple’s rules. This is going to be an interesting legal case with plenty of ramifications for Apple, Epic, and anti-trust law in general. Stay tuned.
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