Fortnite: Epic Games vs. Apple Trial Date Set, Won’t Use Jury

A trial date has been set for Epic Games vs. Apple following an extended and public disagreement over the latter company’s alleged monopolization of iOS digital marketplaces. Epic Games initially filed suit immediately after Fortnite was removed from the App Store for violating its payment rules.

The case will be held as a bench trial, meaning there will be no jury, and begins on May 3, 2021. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the court has not yet decided whether the trial will be held in-person or virtually. The decision to use a bench trial was also influenced by the pandemic, as a backlog of jury trial cases would have pushed it into next summer.

Epic Games has argued that by not allowing outside companies to run their own digital stores on iOS devices, Apple has effectively created a monopoly. It takes a sizeable portion of every digital profit on the App Store, including in-app purchases. Fortnite was banned after Epic Games attempted to circumvent this by offering a direct-purchase option for V-Bucks in the game, but it very clearly knew it was going to get the game banned–a lawsuit that was dozens of pages long was filed almost immediately afterward. Videos mocking Apple’s classic ads, similar to the classic film and book 1984, were also played. It wasn’t exactly subtle.

Apple may have a difficult time arguing it doesn’t hold a monopoly, as the House Judiciary committee on antitrust just released a report claiming it, along with Google, Amazon, and Facebook, hold monopoly power within the tech industry. For Apple, it cited its “software distribution” system on iOS, meaning the App Store.

Fortnite has been inaccessible for new downloads on iOS since August, and it can no longer be updated. This means players can’t receive the latest seasonal content. It

Fortnite: Epic Games vs. Apple Trial Date Set, Won’t Have A Jury

A trial date has been set for Epic Games vs. Apple following an extended and public disagreement over the latter company’s alleged monopolization of iOS digital marketplaces. Epic Games initially filed suit immediately after Fortnite was removed from the App Store for violating its payment rules.

The case will be held as a bench trial, meaning there will be no jury, and begins on May 3, 2021. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the court has not yet decided whether the trial will be held in-person or virtually. The decision to use a bench trial was also influenced by the pandemic, as a backlog of jury trial cases would have pushed it into next summer.

Epic Games has argued that by not allowing outside companies to run their own digital stores on iOS devices, Apple has effectively created a monopoly. It takes a sizeable portion of every digital profit on the App Store, including in-app purchases. Fortnite was banned after Epic Games attempted to circumvent this by offering a direct-purchase option for V-Bucks in the game, but it very clearly knew it was going to get the game banned–a lawsuit that was dozens of pages long was filed almost immediately afterward.

Apple may have a difficult time arguing it doesn’t hold a monopoly, as the House Judiciary committee on antitrust just released a report claiming it, along with Google, Amazon, and Facebook, hold monopoly power within the tech industry. For Apple, it cited its “software distribution” system on iOS, meaning the App Store.

Fortnite has been inaccessible for new downloads on iOS since August, and it can no longer be updated. This means players can’t receive the latest seasonal content. It was similarly banned from Google Play for violating the store’s rules, but there are other digital stores available for Android

Apple and Epic want Fortnite case decided without a jury

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Apple and Epic Games have requested their legal battle be decided by the court and not a jury.


CNET

Attorneys for Apple and Epic Games have informed the judge presiding over their antitrust fight that they would prefer their case be decided by her rather than tried before a jury.

The request, filed in a joint statement Tuesday with US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California, said the two companies had met and decided Epic’s claims and Apple’s counterclaims should be decided by the court. The joint statement also said Apple had withdrawn its demand for a jury trial.

Rogers said Monday it’s likely the case, which she described as “the frontier of antitrust law,” wouldn’t be heard until July 2021. She also recommended a trial by jury in order that the final judgment reached would be more likely stand up to appeal, although she said it’s up to Apple or Epic to request this.

The suit began on Aug. 13, when Epic turned on undisclosed code buried in its popular Fortnite battle royale game for iPhones and iPads. The game, which pits up to 100 players against one another in a cartoonish but complex last-man-standing shootout, counts more than 250 million players. That same day, Epic circumvented Apple’s payments systems for the app, allowing customers to buy items like new looks for their characters directly from Epic, rather than through Apple’s payment system that charges up to a 30% commission.

Representatives for Apple and Epic didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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