UPDATED 22:53 EDT / MAY 03 2021

APPS

Epic Games lawsuit against Apple for alleged anti-competitive behavior finally comes to court

Epic Games Ltd.’s lawsuit against Apple Inc. over alleged anticompetitive behavior has finally come to court as Apple defended its control of its App Store.

Epic, perhaps best known as the creator of the popular battle game “Fortnite,” filed a lawsuit against Apple in August after “Fortnite” was removed from the Apple App Store as well as Google LLC’s Play Store.

“Fortnite” was removed after Epic added the ability in the iOS and Android versions to purchase in-game items directly from Epic itself. Both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store require all app purchases to be made through the respective store directly, with Apple and Google each taking a 30% cut.

The lawsuit from Epic argues that its inability to charge users directly, as it does with the desktop version of “Fortnite,” constitutes unfair competition.

In opening arguments, Epic argued that Apple purposely locks in its customers. Epics lawyers said that although “Epic is far from the only unhappy Apple developer and distributor,” it happened to be the one company that could “finally [say] enough to Apple’s monopolistic conduct” by “taking on the world’s largest company” in court over the matter, Ars Technica reported.

This opening argument from Epic was not unexpected. But the company also showed a slideshow that included a number of internal emails from Apple ecosystem partners detailing how it built a so-called “walled garden.”

The emails are fascinating in their own right and included emails from and between late Apple founder Steve Jobs, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri, Chief Executive Tim Cook, Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue and former Apple executive Scott Forstall. As 9to5Mac noted, the emails were chosen by Epic to illustrate the early decision-making that went into the creation of the App Store and its alleged anticompetitive nature from its inception.

Epic also argued that the claim from Apple that it strictly controls the App Store to create a secure and trusted place for user downloads is false, citing multiple examples of Apple being aware of scam applications and failing to act.

Not surprisingly, Apple disagreed with Epic’s arguments, claiming that it built the App Store and gets to set its own rules, which it said are designed to ensure that apps are high-quality and secure. “Epic wants us to be Android, but we don’t want to be,” Apple lawyer Karen Dunn said. “And our consumers don’t want that either. They want the choice.”

The Apple lawyers also pointed to Epic asking Apple for a special side deal from the company before launching its attack on Apple. Apple’s lawyers also argued that Epic is asking it to remove a layer of security from the iOS ecosystem that could put users at risk of compromise.

The court case is expected to last around three weeks.

Image: Epic Games

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