Updates from the Epic Games vs Apple trial

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This civil court fight has just begun. Experts from the tech and app world are following it, holding their breath for the result. In fact, the final decision and perhaps sentencing could change the way people use apps. To understand why this trial matters, we have to take a step back and see how it all began.

Back to 2018

That’s the year of Epic Games’ purchase of the battle royale game Fortnite. The tech company wanted to debut the game on mobile. Thanks to this move, the business from Cary, North Carolina, became a tech giant. Not a simple giant, but a relevant player in the game. Why? Because the debut on mobile allowed Epic Games to reach new players, besides PC and any other platforms.

The success was so great that Fortnite even launched its own merchandise, music, movie, and even collaborations with names like rapper Travis Scott. It was also a success during the pandemic and the worldwide lockdowns, when people were forced to stay at home. At they turned to games. While Epic Games celebrated, others started strategizing. Like Apple.

Apple enters the conversation

So, any iOS device features Apple’s App Store, where users can download their favorite social media, apps, and even games. And yes, Fortnite included.

Until August 2020, when Apple removed the game from the store. The tech giant made this move after Epic Games tried to change the in-app-purchase system with its own payment program. In fact, Apple takes 30% of the income. Not an amount the game company was willing to pay.

Hence, the exclusion from the app store. Phil Schiller is the former senior vice president of Apple’s worldwide marketing. According to Bloomberg, Schiller disclosed that 17% of the 280,000 games on the App Store are classified as freemium. This categorization means that the games are free to download, but they include purchase in-app.

Obviously, Fortnite was a freemium.

Epic Games vs Apple goes to trial

The court proceedings began in mid May 2021. Epic Games is asking for the restoration of Fortnite in the App Store. Plus the approval of its own payment system, instead of Apple’s.

The trial could cause more issues to Apple. In fact, the court might think that its practices are unlawful. This way, developers from all over the world would be able to make their own system. Epic Games claims that the tech company’s 30% commissions are unfair. And the judges might agree.

So, how is the trial going?

Schiller was the first witness called by Apple with the goal of defending the company’s practices. The same practices that the lawyers of Epic Games defined “excessive.”

During questioning, another issue emerged. In fact, the App Store has a rule that prohibits developers to include a link in their apps. The goal of this link would be to move users from the store to buy what they want elsewhere. So, users would leave Apple to go to other platforms.

The tech giant claims that this policy protects users against malware or privacy breaches. But not everyone is convinced.

As the trial continues, so will our coverage of Epic Games vs Apple.


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