Apple and Epic reveal pre-lawsuit arguments

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Epic games

On Wednesday, Apple and Epic Games set out in separate dueling legal documents what they consider to be the most important facts and legal issues ahead of an antitrust lawsuit starting in May.

Apple and Epic Games, best known for the game Fortnite, have been in a legal battle since last year after Epic Games tried to avoid Apple’s 30% App Store fee via a server software update that went beyond the Apple App Store payment system. Apple responded by removing Fortnite from the App Store, which allowed iPhone users to play the game effectively.

Top executives from both companies are expected to testify in person before federal court in Oakland, California, in a trial expected to take weeks.

Apple executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple Software SVP Craig Federighi and former marketing chief Phil Schiller, could testify, according to court documents. Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney is also on the witness list to the trial.

Any company’s late night registrations are long and packed with detail. Below is a bulleted summary of how each company intends to defend its case in court:

Apple will claim that:

  • The 30% commission is essentially the same as with other online software stores like Google Play or video game console stores and Apple’s fee has gone down over time.
  • It is facing competition for iPhones as well as other platforms to play games.
  • App Store policies have sparked a boom in the software industry and resulted in greater safety and security for users.
  • The App Store is an integrated core feature of the iPhone, and using Apple payments for digital purchases is an important feature.

Epic will claim that:

  • Apple is forcing consumers to bear high switching costs to stop using Apple products and lock them up.
  • As Apple has gathered and locked up more customers, the importance of selling software to Apple customers has grown.
  • Apple determines the only way to install software on an iPhone through the App Store.
  • Apple uses its App Review process, where individual apps are manually screened to avoid distortions of competition, and apps are removed for business reasons under the pretense of security.
  • Since some developers have opted to raise iPhone software prices due to Apple’s 30% tariff, this makes consumers pay more, and Fortnite is an example.

Read Apple’s application here and Epic Games’ application here.