Recent news has revealed that Apple has faced Fortnite creator in California courtroom, thus creating another turn in the epic battle of Apple vs Fortnite. Apple and Epic Games have met in court to decide one of the most consequential antitrust arguments in the history of the tech industry. The trial has been nearly a year in the proceedings, following Apple’s removal of Fortnite from the App Store in August 2020.
On Monday, Apple faced one of its most serious legal threats in recent years: a trial that threatens to upend its rock hard control over the App Store, which brings in billions of dollars each year while feeding more than 1.6 billion iPhones, iPads, and other devices. Epic, on the other hands, is an American video game and software developer and publisher based in Cary, North Carolina, also earning whopping billions from its game proceedings.
Let’s learn more about the Apple vs Fortnite battle and why it is one of the most epic battles of the century.
Apple vs Fortnite
Epic had alleged that the iPhone maker’s App Store and in-app purchase policies both violate antitrust law. The case embodies arguments over whether Apple can and should exert total control over iOS and the App Store, or whether developers should be allowed to distribute apps over alternative marketplaces or simply bypass Apple’s longstanding 30% commission on digital goods. While Apple depicted its App Store as an invaluable service beloved by consumers and developers alike, Epic Games attacked it as a breakthrough idea that has morphed into an instrument of financial exploitation that illegally locks out the competition.
The trial revolves around the 15% to 30% commission that Apple charges for subscriptions and purchases made from apps downloaded from its store, and is expected to last most of this month. Epic, the maker of the popular Fortnite video game, gave pieces of evidence drawn mostly from Apple’s internal documents in an attempt to prove the company has built a digital walled garden during the past 13 years as part of a strategy crafted by its late co-founder, Steve Jobs. Epic contends that this formula is designed to make it as difficult as possible for consumers to stop buying its products and services.
Analyst Dan Ives at Wedbush Securities, as reported by the newspaper The Economic Times, called the case a “Game of Thrones court battle” with Epic looking to bypass the app platforms of both Apple and Google “while trying to gain support from other developers/app makers in a ‘groundswell movement'” against Apple, although Ives said Apple has a strong defense case.
“Apple has successfully defended its App Store moat again and again with this time being no different in our opinion,” Ives said in a research note. “This is a high stakes game of poker being played as Apple needs to make sure the Epic challenge, which is very timely in light of antitrust swirls and growing opposition to Big Tech within the Beltway, does not create a ripple effect which developers and regulators globally are watching carefully.”
Here’s more perspective on the epic battle of Apple vs Fortnite:
Apple contends that its fee structure is the industry norm, and is fair compensation for giving developers a global storefront and keeping it secure. Epic, which is seeking to return to the App Store without being forced to use Apple’s payment scheme, is not alone in its criticism.
As the battle between Epic Games and Apple continues, no matter who the lady of justice lean to, we can expect the relation between the two to be bitter hereafter.