On this Monday, May 3, 2021, an important trial will begin in Oakland, California. This lawsuit as you surely know opposes Epic Games and Apple. Over the next three weeks, we should see a bitter fight between the two sides. The stakes are so high that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, will both be called to the bar.
It must be said that the verdict of this trial could have immense consequences for the future. On the assumption, that Epic Games succeeds, it is the whole economic model of the App Store and much more which should collapse. Note that Apple has almost ruled out the possibility of reaching a financial agreement, as the accusations made by Epic Games are important.
The start of a long and fascinating trial
As a reminder, the publisher of Fortnite accuses Apple of exercising an abuse of a dominant position through the App Store. The Cupertino company prevents a third-party developer from using a payment solution other than that offered by the App Store. This payment system which collects a 30% commission for each transaction. Epic Games is not the first company to speak out against this system, since Spotify, or Match Group (Tinder’s parent company), have already sued Apple with similar accusations.
It all started when Epic Games chose to bypass the App Store commission by integrating its own payment system into the mobile version of Fortnite. A solution considered to be a violation of the rules of the App Store which caused the disappearance of Fortnite from the App Store. The popularity of the game is such that the affair quickly grew enormously, so that the #FreeFortnite did not take long to appear.
In the 8 months between Fortnite’s ban and the start of the trial, the two companies embarked on a sort of cold war. On the one hand, Epic Games which believes that owners of an iPhone should be able to install any application the way they want, on the other Apple which defends its closed environment which allows it to maintain security and flawless performance, two factors that are becoming increasingly rare.
It remains to be seen how this trial will unfold over the next few days.