The judge overseeing Epic Games' lawsuit against Apple has decided the case will go to trial starting in early May 2021.
Honorable Judge Yvonne Gonzalez has decided that Epic's case against Apple warrants an in-person trial following a conference with both parties' legal teams Tuesday, March 2. They came to a consensus on the start date of May 3, 2021, where Epic will be tasked with proving Apple's behavior and policies to be "oppressive." Apple will have to defend itself against Epic's claims and likely justify its removal of the flagship franchise, Fortnite, from its App Store.
Epic vs. Apple Lawsuit Update
Epic originally levied the suit against Apple over its App Store fee of 30% back in August 2020. Apple removed Fortnite from its platform after Epic implemented a new method of payment that cut Apple out of the profits—essentially bypassing its claim to a cut. In response, Epic stepped up with the case, claiming the 30% was overkill, "unfair and anti-competitive."
The two have been visibly at odds ever since—with most of the attention coming from Epic's #FreeFortnite campaign. The company launched a promotional parody of Apple's iconic 1984 advertisement, naming it "Nineteen-Eighty-Fortnite," and releasing a corresponding skin called the "Tart Tycoon." The most remarkable thing about the ordeal, however, is that Epic unveiled all this on the same day it filed its case.
Epic has been anything but shy about its disdain for its opponent, with Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO, accusing Apple of having no qualms overstepping boundaries.
"[It's] terrifying how much leverage Apple has consumers and developers," Sweeney said.
For its part, Apple has gone on to subpoena Valve with little success. It did call Epic's payment bypass "reckless behavior" and claimed it made customers pawns in the dispute, according to a statement published by UK outlet Gaming Industry last January 2021.
"In ways a judge has described as deceptive and clandestine, Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines that apply equally to every developer and protect customers." It said.
Neither company has elected to issue a further comment regarding the trial at the time of writing.