Apple Vs Epic Games Court Battle Continues

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Second day of courtroom showdown in the US reveals Epic Games management would have accepted a special commission deal with Apple

The second day of the showdown between Epic Games and Apple in a US courtroom revealed that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney would have accepted a special deal from Apple if it had been offered.

When Epic’s Sweeney was asked whether he would have accepted a special deal from Apple for a lower ‌App Store‌ commission, Sweeney was quoted by as replying “Yes, I would have.”

Some will argue this admission in the Oakland, California courtroom seems to weaken Epic’s argument that its decision to begin a legal battle with Apple was done to benefit all developers.

Commission clash

Epic Games has long argued that the rules that govern the App Store are unfair, and it filed a complaint with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in January against both Apple and Google, alleging they broke competition law.

It has also filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission.

The case stems from when Apple had removed the game Fortnite from its app store last August over a dispute, which revolves around app store charges that Epic has argued are unfair.

Epic introduced a feature into Fortnite allowing users to bypass Apple’s in-app payment systems for the purchase of the game’s virtual currency.

Apple responded by removing the game from its app store, and later removed Epic’s developer account.

Apple has also counter-sued Epic.

Epic argues the cut taken by app stores for in-app purchases, typically 30 percent, is excessive.

The game developer also argued Apple and Google had abused their dominant positions in the smartphone industry, “substantially reducing competition” in app distribution and payment processes.

Epic Games also wants Apple and Google to allow users to download apps from outside their app stores.

Apple has robustly defended its commission charge of between 15-30 percent for apps that use its in-app payment system. It also imposes strict rules that apps must comply with to appear in its App Store, which is the only venue where iPhone and iPad can download apps for their devices.

But in November Apple announced that the new App Store commission will fall from 30 percent down to 15 percent for small developers and businesses earning up to $1 million per year.

Epic doesn’t qualify.

Three week case

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is presiding over the three-week trial that began on Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

According to Reuters, Sweeney was asked this week what he would do if ‌Epic Games‌ loses the case.

In response, he was quoted as saying that Apple would be able to cut off Fortnite and remove ‌Epic Games‌ from the developer program for any reason. “We would have to live with not supporting the iOS platform,” he said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to testify during the third week.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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