The “trial of the century” is starting today, if you believe some of the headlines. And maybe it is a huge case that could affect software sales for decades to come. Maybe it will be a case that gets appealed all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. But for some people, it’s a bit over their heads when you try to understand what the whole thing is about. So, we’re here to break through the fog and get straight to what this court case is trying to decide.
Epic owns a game called Fortnite. It’s a really big game with millions of players. Epic does not want to pay Apple the 30% fee for transactions when Apple users buy Fortnite downloaded content on the App Store. So, Epic decided to go around the App store by offering things to buy straight through their own Fortnite program. That made Apple unhappy because they were denied their 30% fee. Apple then cut Epic off of their Apple devices so that Apple users could not use Epic content like Fortnite… while customers could still do so on other platforms (Xbox, Playstation, etc). Epic waged a public relations campaign against Apple and then sued them.
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020
Epic is arguing to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, that Apple is operating as a monopoly. Apple is arguing that they are just one platform in a multitude of platforms on which Fortnite exists. The outcome of the trial is likely to be appealed by whoever loses. The outcome is important because if Apple wins, that would mean a court has set precedent on the side of companies having closed markets for their platforms. If Epic wins, it would set precedent in favor of software companies being free to sell their products on hardware platforms without being forced through market systems they don’t like.
The outcome of this legal battle will have ramifications on companies like Microsoft that own and enforce a single marketplace system on their Xbox console. Sony might also be affected, as will other companies. As the future continues more and more into virtual and technologically based services, this case has exponentially important influence over how consumers and companies will buy and sell code.
For more information about this trial as it continues, please feel free to check out D-Rezzed for ongoing coverage.
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