Fortnite maker girds up for epic field showdown with Apple
In a legal clash with potentially huge repercussions for the mobile tech world, Fortnite maker Epic Games is targeting Apple from Monday in a bid to break the iPhone maker’s grip on its online market .
The opening of the case in Federal Court comes with Apple feeling pressure from a wide range of app makers over its tight control of the App Store, which critics say represents monopoly behavior.
The two companies will debate whether Apple has the right to set ground rules, control payment systems, and remove apps from its market that don’t comply.
Apple’s share of revenue from iPhone apps will also be at stake, up to 30%.
Apple maintains that its commission is the industry standard and is fair compensation for giving developers a global showcase and keeping it safe.
Epic, which is looking to return to the App Store without being forced to use Apple’s payment system, is not alone in criticizing.
The European Union officially accused Apple on Friday of unfairly ousting its music streaming rivals based on a complaint filed by Sweden-based Spotify and others who claim the California group sets rules that promote its own Apple Music.
A recently formed App Fairness Coalition, which includes both Spotify and Epic, called on Apple to open up its market, saying its commission was a “tax” on rivals.
– Off the platform –
Apple started Fortnite from its online mobile marketplace last year after Epic released an update that avoided revenue sharing with the iPhone maker.
Apple doesn’t allow users of its popular devices to download apps from anywhere except its App Store, and developers must use Apple’s payment system which takes its discount up to $ 30 for cent – a percentage that decreases after the first year and is dropped. for those with limited income.
Due to the legal dispute, Fortnite fans using iPhones or other Apple devices no longer have access to the latest game updates.
– Judge to hear the case –
After months of dueling trials, a trial before District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will begin with Epic laying out his case in his opening remarks.
Apple must counter its position before witness testimony begins. The companies have agreed to leave the verdict to the judge rather than a jury.
Some analysts say Apple appears on solid ground to defend its territory.
Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said, “The Street sees the bark worse than the bite of this lawsuit and when Apple wins we believe it will strengthen the company’s grip on its App Store and corporate structure. fresh.”
– Innovation vs distribution? –
The trial is taking place in a courtroom across the bay from San Francisco, and witnesses are to include the CEOs of Apple and Epic.
Rogers strictly limited access to the courtroom due to the risks of Covid-19, allowing the public to listen to the proceedings via a phone line or Zoom.
The legal battle comes as Apple prioritizes selling digital content and subscription services to more than a billion people around the world using devices powered by its iOS mobile operating software.
“Who gets the money for Epic’s games is what they fight for,” said analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group.
“I think Apple is wrong here for the good of the industry; you want to fund innovation and not distribution.”
Earlier this year, Epic filed a complaint against Apple with EU antitrust authorities, deepening its bitter feud with the iPhone maker over its App Store.
“We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a fair digital playground,” said Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, in a statement upon filing. of the complaint.
The company said the complaint “complements” legal proceedings it has launched in the United States, Australia and Britain.
Epic said it was seeking decisions from authorities to force Apple to change its practices for all developers.
– A growing quarrel –
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg accused Apple of imposing rules on outside developers that don’t apply to its own services.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the change was to “give the user the ability to decide whether they want to be tracked or not. And so, it puts the user in control. Not Apple, not another company. “
gc / rl