Judge says Apple may not be required to authorize Fortnite on the App Store


The dispute between Apple and Epic Games has been going on for about two weeks now, but it’s likely just the start of a long legal fight. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who hears the case, said today that she was “inclined” not to force Apple to allow Fortnite on the App Store, but also that the decision to terminate the developer account of Epic could be canceled.On August 13, Fortnite was updated to include Epic’s own payment system that allows players to purchase in-game items at lower prices. Epic claimed that Apple’s in-app purchases system forces developers to charge users higher amounts because the company takes a 30% commission on each sale.

As Apple explicitly forbids developers to offer any paid content in apps by evading its in-app purchasing system, Fortnite was then banned from the iOS App Store. Epic Games launched a public campaign calling on Fortnite players to join the company against the Apple ruling, which led to Apple terminating Epic’s developer account.

Epic Games sued Apple for removing Fortnite from the App Store and also for suspending its developer account, claiming the App Store rules were anti-competitive. In response, Apple said that Epic is seeking special treatment, and all developers are required to follow the same rules.

The two companies have yet to agree on how much time they need to work on their pre-trial defenses (via Stephen Nellis). Epic took 4-6 months, while Apple said it took 6-8 months. In the meantime, Judge Rogers has said she can’t “grant a discharge” on Apple’s decision to ban Fortnite, but that doesn’t mean Apple will win this battle.

I can tell you now that I am inclined not to grant a waiver when it comes to games, but I am inclined to give a waiver when it comes to the Unreal Engine.

In other words, while Apple may not be required to re-authorize Fortnite on the App Store, the judge can demand that Apple grant Epic Games access to its development platforms. . Epic doesn’t offer any other relevant iOS apps at this time, but the company is responsible for Unreal Engine – which is used by multiple developers to create different games.

Judge Rogers has expressed concerns about how Apple blocking Epic from accessing development platforms could impact gaming business. She also considers that Apple has decided to sanction Epic in “retaliation”.

What Apple has done goes beyond its mere contact with Epic Games and uses strong leverage and has criticized Epic Games with that extra penalty. Remember, I just got this case, but it feels like retaliation to me.

Apple attorney Richard Doren argued that Epic has decided to involve its customers in a business dispute and that Apple doesn’t even have to give Epic 14 days to reverse the situation, but they did. Epic’s lawyer, Katherine B. Forrest, says it is “an act of maintained monopoly, not the exercise of a contractual right.”

At the same time, Judge Rogers seems extremely skeptical that Epic didn’t know exactly what he was doing when he decided to break the App Store rules and right after that he announced a campaign. public against Apple.

We still don’t have a specific date for the trial, but given the two companies’ disagreements, that may not happen until 2021.

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