In a heated and passionate hearing, both Epic Games and Apple fended for themselves, however, Epic largely come to a loss. On September 4th Epic Games filed a preliminary injunction that would force Apple to reinstate Fortnite into the App Store, and not remove it purely on the basis that it provided an alternative in-app purchase payment method. Epic’s filing reads:
Plaintiff Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”) will move this Court pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 for a Preliminary Injunction: (1) restraining Defendant Apple Inc. (“Apple”) from removing, de-listing, refusing to list or otherwise making unavailable the app Fortnite or any other app on Epic’s Team ID ’84 account in Apple’s Developer Program, including any update of such an app, from the App Store on the basis that Fortnite offers in-app payment processing through means other than Apple’s In-App Purchase (“IAP”) or on any pretextual basis;Epic Games in Court
Epic Wants its Own App Store
Epic says that it isn’t arguing against the 30% commission in the App Store, but instead is arguing the fact that the 30% rule is a result of the fact there is no competition for where users can download apps. Epic Games says it wants to be able to distribute apps directly to users.
Apple says Epic is directly challenging the 30%, adding it is not credible that Epic has an issue with the in-app purchasing system. In response, Epic Games says straight out that it wants its own App Store on iOS devices, but under current rules, it cant. Apple says it safeguards its right to protect its intellectual property and that within itself isn’t an antitrust violation. Apple says it wants to protect user privacy by maintaining a system that controls what is on iOS, and that is done via the App Store.
In-App Purchasing System
Hon. Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers asks Apple if it would accept the idea that PayPal becomes a payment method on the App Store having considered that PayPal offers it a 30% commission. Apple says no because its current in-app purchasing system offers many more benefits besides simply a payment method such as family sharing, taxes, and more.
Apple declines that its threat to block the Unreal Engine from the App Store is retaliatory since it’s used by Epic Games, and falls under Epic’s jurisdiction. The judge previously ruled that Apple could not ban the Unreal Engine from the App Store.
Judge Attacks Epic Games
In a blistering attack against Epic Games, the judge says that the company lied and has been dishonest because it knowingly broke App Store guidelines when it added its direct payment option within the app. Epic lawyers responding, saying the hotfix has been used in other platforms and constitutes no act of dishonesty. Epic also added that 63% of Fortnite users play only play on iOS, and those people are locked into that device and hence they can’t reach those users.
The judge swayed back and forth between Epic and Apple’s side multiple times, in some instances calling out Epic’s lack of clarity against why it’s fighting against the tech-giant, and other times drilling Apple on its in-app purchasing system.
However, Epic failed to address key questions asked from the court about the App Store and their accusations that is a monopoly, proving it is undertaking a massive publicity stunt, and above all rejecting the idea that it removes its direct payment option and allow Apple to reinstate Fortnite to the store.
Perhaps the most striking of all, is that Epic Games admitted it is trying to develop its own App Store on Apple’s platforms. Apple responded to Epic’s admission by saying that it holds intellectual property rights for its devices, and has a responsibility to safeguard user privacy and data via the App Store. That point will be hard for Epic to dispute.
The judge is expected to write more information including the trial schedule in the near future, this page will be updated when the dates and more information are released by the courtroom.