The lawyers of “Fortnite” creators Epic Games and Apple will put forward opening arguments in an antitrust case on Monday, the final result of which could affect the fast-growing growth of Apple App store business.
The lawsuit, which Epic filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California last year, focuses on two of the Apple practices that have become the cornerstone of its business: Apple’s requirement that virtually all third-party software be available to the 1 billion iPhones in the world must be distributed through the App Store and the requirement that developers use Apple’s in-app purchase system that charges commissions of up to 30 percent.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will lead the three-week trial in a courtroom in Oakland, California. Apple’s Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher legal team arrived at the courthouse Monday morning with about 20 boxes of documents, followed by Phil Schiller, Apple’s App Store boss.
Epic’s legal team of Cravath, Swaine & Moore arrived with a similar number of boxes, followed by Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games.
Both executives are expected to participate in the entire study, which includes personal statements from Apple CEO Tim Cook and other senior executives from both companies.
Epic broke Apple rules last year when it introduced its own in-app payment system in Fortnite to bypass Apple’s commissions.
In response, Apple kicked Epic from the App Store.
Epic sued Apple, claiming the iPhone maker was abusing its power as an app developer with app store review rules and payment requirements that hurt competition in the software market. Epic also launched an aggressive public relations campaign to publicize its allegations, just as Apple’s practices have been scrutinized by lawmakers and regulators in the US and elsewhere.
Apple countered Epic’s claims by arguing that the App Store rules made consumers feel safe to open their wallets to unknown developers, thus helping to create a massive market that all developers can use have benefited.
The Computer giant also argues that Epic intentionally broke its contracts with Apple because the game maker wanted a free ride on the iPhone maker’s platform.
Epic is not asking for monetary damages, but is asking the court to issue orders that would end many of Apple’s practices.