In the legal dispute between the “Fortnite” maker Epic Games and Apple, the parties have positioned themselves. Three and a half weeks before the start of the hearing at the US District Court in Oakland, California, the companies published their detailed arguments on Thursday (local time) on a total of almost 700 pages. Epic wants Apple to be forced to allow third-party app stores on the iPhone. Apple warns of risks for users and accuses Epic of breach of contract and law. The decision could turn the app business on the iPhone upside down.
Does Apple have a monopoly?
The decisive question in the process could be whether Apple can speak of a monopoly position. Epic points it outthat apps and digital in-app purchases on the iPhone could only be officially acquired via Apple’s app store platform – and based on this, his allegation of a competition violation, which must be ended. Apple, in turn, countersthat instead of looking at the market for games as a whole, together with consoles and PCs – and here the iPhone is only a small part, for example inferior to Android overall.
The case should be decided by a judge and not by a jury. Apple also points out that thanks to the use of a central app store, the company has the ability to check all applications in order to protect users from fraud and security problems. Almost 500 employees are working around the world for this purpose. Epic replies that Apple has always allowed software to be downloaded onto its Mac computer from sources other than its own app store, a contradiction that Apple cannot explain.
Prepared for a long time
The dispute broke out in August because Epic no longer wanted to adhere to the requirement that had been in force for more than a decade that virtual items in its popular game “Fortnite” on iPhones could only be offered via Apple’s in-app purchases system . Apple keeps 30 percent of the purchase price. Instead, Epic would like to run its own store on the iPhone and not use Apple’s payment method to make in-app purchases. After the iPhone group rejected exceptions to the terms and conditions, the Epic developers built into the app the contractually prohibited option of buying digital items directly from Epic. For this purpose, a hidden function was activated in the application in August, which Epic had smuggled past Apple.
On the same day, Apple threw “Fortnite” with reference to the rule violation and a breach of contract from the App Store. Epic went to court. The gaming giant is said to have been preparing for the process for two years – under the code name “Project Liberty”. Since then, “Fortnite” has not been able to be downloaded on iPhones – but it still works on devices where the game was already installed. Epic also introduced its own payment method in the “Fortnite” app for smartphones with the Google Android operating system. Google then banned the app from its Play Store download platform. Unlike on iPhones, Android users can also download them from other sources. Apple is demanding damages from Epic in a counterclaim.