Apple and Epic Games are getting their literal day in court, with the trial kicking off in person on May 3. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez met with lawyers from both sides of the case this week to talk about the trial’s specifics focused on deciding if the Apple App Store practices are monopolistic and anti-competitive. The judge believes the case is significant enough that it be should be heard in person.
While the trial is planned to be in person, it could become virtual, taking place via Zoom if COVID-19 numbers remain high. The case will start on May 3, no matter if it’s online or in person. Witnesses in the case will have to travel to Northern California to testify unless there are valid health reasons they can’t.
It is a bench trial, so there is no jury present. Epic has alleged that Apple is controlling the market, blocking competition as well as stifling innovation. The case’s main issue stems from Apple App Store payment rules that prevent apps from processing microtransactions outside of the Apple payment system. Epic tried to circumvent those established paths with Fortnite, resulting in Apple kicking the game off the App Store.
Interestingly, Apple did change its fee policies, lowering it to 15 percent from 30 percent for developers that make less than $1 million per year. Currently, Fortnite is unavailable for iOS devices. The court case is expected to take 2 to 3 weeks.