Epic Games v. Apple Antitrust Trial Set for May 3, 2021

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has set a trial date for the Epic Games v. Apple antitrust lawsuit. In an order dated Oct. 6, Rogers set a bench trial to begin on May 3, 2021. Rogers indicated in a September hearing that a bench trial might not be possible until sometime in the July of 2021 due to a busy docket, but it looks like that has changed.

At the heart of the Epic antitrust case against Apple is the Apple App Store, Fortnite, and the built-in payment system that takes 30% percent of all transactions from app developers.

In late August Epic deployed a hotfix within its battle royale game that allowed consumers to buy directly from the developer and avoid going through Apple. Apple later removed the game from its app store for iOS devices and attempted to revoke Epic’s developer program status related to Unreal Engine. After several hearings in September, Rogers upheld Apple’s right to remove Fortnite, but would not allow the platform holder to revoke Epic’s status related to Unreal Engine because it would affect thousands of app developers and games including PUBG Mobile.

Epic’s court case against Apple asserts that the Apple App Store owner is operating a monopoly and violating antitrust laws by forcing developers to pay steep royalty fees, and use products and services that are tied in together, such as the in-app payment system. Epic is also suing Google in a separate lawsuit for similar practices on Google Play for Android devices.

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