Following months of conflict, the trial between Apple and Fortnite developer Epic Games begins today. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will be overseeing the case, which may become one of the most important cases in Apple’s history.
The trial will be held in federal court in Oakland, California and will take about three weeks to reach a conclusion. Starting today, Apple and Epic Games will plea their arguments and defence to the judge. This case will mark the first time Apple CEO Tim Cook makes a testimony in court. Additional personnel expected to provide testimonies include Apple’s Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney will also provide testimony as well.
The case largely revolves around the controversial topic of whether Apple is running a monopoly through its App Store. The company has set a precedence of including a 30 percent cut of revenue on all in-app purchases and subscriptions made through services and games published on the App Store.
In August of last year, Epic Games attempted to use a loophole to bypass Apple’s mandatory cut of the revenue. Within the incredibly popular game Fortnite, Epic Games instituted a direct method of purchasing in-game ‘V-bucks’, bypassing Apple’s payment system. This then led to Apple swiftly removing Fortnite from the App Store, blocking players from accessing the game on Apple devices.. Apple later removed Epic’s access to Mac and iOS developer accounts. Though, a judge did order a reversal of the latter.
Upon the removal of Fortnite from the App Store, Epic Games quickly retaliated. The company began a social and PR campaign dubbed #FreeFortnite and posted an in-game video parodying Apple’s 1984 video. Epic Games also issued an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, thus starting the legal battle between the warring companies. Since then, both companies have attended depositions in preparation for this day.
A lot is at stake for Apple. Much of its yearly revenue stems from its 30 percent cut from the App Store. The trial will likely see Apple fight tooth and nail to retain the current model it has established. However, the trial may see Apple being forced to offer users alternative payment methods and alternatives for its software distribution.
The trial will begin every day at 11:15 AM ET /8:15 AM PT. For those curious, an audio feed will be provided on the court’s website to listen in.