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Apple’s battle with Epic over Fortnite could be brought to justice next July


Apple and Epic are arguing in court.


Apple and Epic met in a virtual court hearing on Monday to discuss whether Fourteen days should be allowed to stay on the Apple App Store while the two fight an even bigger battle whether Apple is violating the Federal Cartel Act. California judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has not updated her previous ruling confirmed Apple’s ban on Fortnite while the antitrust proceedings are still ongoing. Instead, she said companies should expect to hear from her in writing.

Rogers said the case, which she referred to as the “antitrust limit,” is likely to be heard in July 2021. She recommended a lawsuit by a jury so that the final verdict was more likely to appeal, though she said it is up to Apple or Epic to request it.

“I know that I’m just a stepping stone for all of you,” she said. “Whoever loses is going to take it up and say that everything I’ve done was wrong – that’s what litigators do. There are no hard feelings, that’s the job. But I think it’s important enough to be.” understand what real people think. Do these security issues affect people or not? ”

The suit started on August 13th when Epic turned on unknown code buried in its popular Fortnite Battle Royale game for iPhones and iPads. The game, in which up to 100 players compete in a cartoonish but complex shootout against the last man, has more than 250 million players. And on the same day, Epic bypassed Apple’s payment systems for the app, allowing customers to purchase items such as new looks for their characters directly from Epic, rather than through Apple’s payment system, which charges a commission of up to 30%.

It was this decision that prompted Apple to take Fortnite out of the App Store and threaten to ban the Unreal Engine code offered by Epic to outside game developers to help them create their own apps. Epic replied with claim Apple wanted to destroy it and to say it would sue the company (together with Google, with whom it endures an almost identical but separate battle).

On Monday in court, Rogers seemed less than impressed with the arguments made by Epic’s legal team. She said that in the gaming industry, which Epic is a part of, it is common for platforms like Apple to receive 30% commission. She challenged Epic over its decision to circumvent Apple’s policies despite its explicit contractual relationship with the company, saying the company “lied about it by omission.”

“You weren’t straight,” she said. “You were told you couldn’t do it, and you did. There’s an old saying that a rose by any other name is still a rose […] There are many people in the public who might consider you heroes for what you’ve done, but it’s still not honest. ”

Rogers also denied Epic’s claims that Apple did “irreparable damage” to its Unreal Engine. “There is no case law that says my billion-dollar company is losing a few millions, and therefore it is irreparable damage,” she said.

But Katherine Forrest, an Epic attorney, struggled to maintain the company’s status as an outsider in battle while defending her intense publicity campaign for the case. “If you take over the biggest company in the world and put it where you know it will return the favor, don’t lie in the streets and die,” she said. “You plan very carefully how you will react and you go to great lengths to keep your head above water.”

While Rogers didn’t immediately come to the conclusion whether Fortnite should return to the App Store in the meantime, she suggested a compromise. She said Apple could put Fortnite back on the App Store if the funds Epic raised in the meantime were kept in escrow for the duration of the trial.

Apple’s lawyers said they needed to consult with the company, although they did find the proposal would address some of the issues. But Epic’s lawyers immediately shot down the idea, saying the court shouldn’t endorse “illegal monopoly regulations”.

“I didn’t buy that argument until now I’m not particularly impressed,” replied Rogers.

CNET’s Ian Sherr contributed to this report.

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