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Epic's legal battle against Apple is going to court

Fortnite spy banana
(Image credit: Epic Games)
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The lengthy legal brawl between Apple and Epic Games over microtransaction payment methods will officially go to trial later this year.

Lawyers for the two companies took part in a management conference yesterday, presided by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez. Details of the upcoming bench trial were discussed, and a date of May 3 was settled upon (thanks, MacRumors (opens in new tab)).

The saga dates back to August 2020 (opens in new tab), when Apple removed Fortnite from its app store after Epic added a new payment method that eliminated Apple's 30-percent fee. Epic then went ahead and filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the juggernaut's 30-percent cut is "oppressive," "unfair and anti-competitive." 

They also had time to throw together a cheeky jab at Apple with their Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite parody of Apple's 1984 iconic Macintosh ad, accompanied by the #FreeFortnite event, which introduced the 'Tart Tyrant' skin. This all happened in a single day, mind you.

The trial will see Apple defend itself against Epic's claims, attempting to prove its App Store prices are fair and indeed not anti-competitive. Apple has even subpoenaed Valve (opens in new tab) as part of its attempt, arguing that certain Steam information will be crucial to building its case, though Valve is pushing back on the request.

Judge Gonzalez says the case is significant enough to warrant an in-person trial, believing witnesses are less likely to lie when sworn in in a physical courtroom. If COVID numbers remain high though, the trial will go ahead via Zoom.

Judge Gonzalez is hoping for the trial to last two to three weeks, but Epic wants to push the length to four to five weeks. There's no set timeframe yet though, to be determined when some of the finer details of the trial get ironed out.

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Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has been particularly vocal about Apple, recently accusing the company of having no boundaries and saying that it's "terrifying how much leverage Apple has consumers and developers." Apple has been much quieter, but told earlier this year that Epic's unapproved payment method was "reckless behaviour" that "made pawns of customers." 

A fresh writer in the industry, Mollie has been taken under PC Gamer's RGB-laden wing, making sure she doesn't get up to too much mischief on the site. She's not quite sure what a Command & Conquer is, but she can rattle on for hours about all the obscure rhythm games and strange MMOs from the 2000s. She's been cooking up all manner of news, previews and features while she's been here, but especially enjoys when she gets to write about Final Fantasy, Persona, The Sims, and whatever other game she's currently hopelessly fixated on. There's a good chance she's boring another PC Gamer writer about her latest obsession as we speak.