Apple and Epic met in a virtual court hearing on Monday to debate whether Fortnite should be allowed to remain in Apple’s App Store while the two fight an even bigger battle over whether Apple is violating federal antitrust law. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez didn’t issue an update to her previous ruling. It upheld Apple’s ban on Fortnite whilst the case is going on. Rather, she said that the companies should expect to hear from her in writing.
Rogers said that is was likely that the case will be heard in July 2021. She also recommended a trial by jury in order that the final judgment reached would be more likely to stand up to appeal.
The suit began on August 13. Epic turned on undisclosed code buried in its popular Fortnite game for iPhones and iPads. The game pits up to 100 players against one another in a cartoonish but complex last-man-standing shootout. It counts for nearly 250 million players worldwide. And that same day, Epic circumvented Apple’s payment systems for the app. This allowed customers to buy items like new looks for their characters directly from Epic. Through Apple’s payment system, it charges up to a 30% commission.
“Plenty of people in the public could consider you guys heroes for what you did, but it’s still not honest.”Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers
Rogers also challenged Epic’s strong claim that Apple had done “irreparable harm” to its Unreal Engine. “There’s no case law that says that my billion-dollar company is losing some millions and so, therefore, that’s irreparable harm.”
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But Katherine Forrest, a lawyer for Epic Games fought to uphold the company’s status as the underdog in the battle. This, while defending its intense publicity campaign around the case.
Though Rogers didn’t reach an immediate conclusion on whether Fortnite should return to the App Store in the interim, she did recommend a compromise. She said that Apple could allow Fortnite back on the App Store if the money collected by Epic in the meantime was held in an account for the duration of the case.