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The makers of popular battle-royale video game ‘Fortnite’ and tech giant Apple have tussled over the app’s release on the company’s iOS platform. Epic Games, creator of the hit game, announced that it would be releasing its game on Apple’s iOS devices, a first for the company. But Epic Games’ sudden decision came with some caveats, as the game maker said that it would release the game outside of Apple’s App Store, in an effort to safeguard the company’s 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases.

The game maker Epic Games and Apple are having a public spat over the iPhone maker’s App Store business model. The two companies have been trading barbs over Epic’s decision to bypass the App Store with a new game it launched out of the blue on Tuesday. (The game is called “Fortnite.”) Epic is currently selling the new “Fortnite” game on its own website, and it’s also distributed it via its own software installer program, which it calls the Epic Games Launcher. The Epic Games Launcher is currently available for download for PC and Mac, and it’s also on the Google Play store for Android.

Lawyers for Epic Games Inc, creator of the popular video game Fortnite, and

Apple Inc.

AAPL 1.04%.

on Monday made the first arguments in a federal lawsuit that could help reform the multi-billion dollar market for selling apps on mobile devices.

United States District Judge

Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers

is presiding over a three-week trial in Oakland, California, in which executives from both companies and officials from Microsoft Corp. will testify,

Nvidia Corp.

NVDA -0.54%.

,

Match Group Inc.

MTCH -4.26%.

among other things.

Catherine Forrest,

a lawyer for Epic, said the video game company was suing Apple over its app store policy, calling its use by the iPhone maker monopolistic. She reminded the court that Epic is not seeking damages, but wants to clear Apple’s closed garden for itself and all app developers.

It could have been a door in the garden. It’s artificially compartmentalized, said Forrest, an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and a former federal judge in New York. In developing its mobile operating system, known as iOS, Apple’s plan was to keep users hooked and prevent them from leaving the Apple ecosystem, she said.

Karen Dunn,

an Apple lawyer, defended the iPhone maker’s app store policy and the 30 percent commission the company charges developers for digital sales.

Apple has not created a secure, integrated ecosystem to keep people out, said Dunn, a partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, who also represented Apple in a lawsuit against the company.

Qualcomm Inc.

on patent royalties. Instead, Apple has invited developers without sacrificing the privacy and accountability, security and quality that consumers want, the spokeswoman said.

Dunn also disagreed with Epic’s definition of a competitive market, saying its vision was too narrow because there are multiple platforms on which consumers and developers operate, including PCs and the three major game consoles. It argued that consumers can quickly switch between platforms and buy Fortnite and other gaming currency on one platform and spend it on another.

Epic sues Apple and

Alphabet Inc.

GOOG – 0.42%.

Google in August after companies pulled Fortnite from their mobile app stores. They claim their action was justified because Epic violated their rules by implementing their own in-game payment processing system, potentially circumventing the 30% share of revenue Apple and Google receive from in-app purchases.

Apple’s market share hit a record high this year, but its longstanding conflict with app developers is becoming more overt. The WSJ explains why well-known companies like Epic Games, Spotify, and Tinder aren’t following the rules of the App Store. Video/illustration: Jaden Urby/WSJ

Epic, which was valued at nearly $29 billion last month, says Apple charges exorbitant fees to mobile software developers and runs the App Store in a way that stifles small businesses and prevents fair competition. No date has yet been set for Epic’s lawsuit against Google.

Apple claimed that Epic’s actions were a breach of contract and that the video game company was running a smear campaign. Apple also said that Fortnite is available on multiple platforms, claiming that the market is mature and nothing close to a developer monopoly.

Among those who will speak on behalf of Epic on Monday is the company’s co-founder and CEO,

Tim Sweeney,

who spent months developing his company’s plan to attack Apple with a team of about 200 Epic employees, outside lawyers and public relations consultants. He appeared in court in a gray and blue suit and wearing a black mask.

Sir, I want to thank you for your support. Mr. Sweeney, 50, is an experienced computer programmer who prefers to wear pants and a T-shirt. The Maryland native, who has a fortune of more than $9 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has already testified in court and addressed crowds at events like Mobile World Congress and the Game Developers Conference.

Epic’s witness list also includes other company executives, former Apple employees and employees of other companies, including Microsoft. Apple’s witness list includes the company’s CEO for the past decade,

Tim Cook,

and other frameworks, such as

Phil Schiller,

who was instrumental in the introduction of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, and currently holds the title Apple Fellow.

Legal experts say it can be difficult for plaintiffs to win antitrust cases and that Epic’s lawsuit could depend on how the court defines the market in the digital age. Epic claims that Apple has a monopoly on its App Store, while Apple claims that the App Store is just one of many distribution channels in the larger market for video games and other software.

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Analysts say an appeal is likely regardless of the outcome of the trial, a possibility the judge suggested at last year’s hearing.

Apple is being taken to task by regulators in other countries for its business practices. The European Union on Friday accused the company of violating antitrust laws for allegedly abusing its control over the distribution of music listening apps. The case in Europe stems from a lawsuit filed in 2019 by Spotify Technology SA, a competitor to Apple’s music streaming service. The UK is conducting a separate investigation into whether Apple imposes anti-competitive terms on app developers, while US lawmakers accuse Apple of abusing its monopoly position.

Responding to the European Union’s allegations, Apple said Spotify was still successful after it removed paid subscriptions from its app in the App Store. Apple also said that Spotify will be required to promote alternative offers through its App Store, a practice that no other store allows.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Isn’t Apple limiting competition in the mobile app market? Why or why not? Join the discussion below.

Email Sarah E. Needleman at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who won the epic games vs Apple lawsuit?

The Epic Games vs Apple lawsuit has gone to jury deliberation. The Apple vs Epic case that has been going on for over a year, has finally reached its conclusion. At issue was whether or not Apple infringed on Epic’s software technology in making the popular game, Infinity Blade. (A game that is generally accepted as better than most of Apple’s stuff.) The jury was supposed to decide today, but got hung up on questions about whether Epic’s software was something that Apple could license, or something that could only be used in the exact same way that Epic used it. The jury foreman says that they will be back tomorrow with the answers to their questions, and hopefully with a verdict. Epic games vs Apple lawsuit is a story about a company that makes games and a company that makes the device those games are played on. Epic games vs Apple lawsuit is about a game that was made by Epic games that allowed players to make their own maps and skins for the game and re-sell it on the app store. Epic games vs Apple lawsuit is about a company that makes devices and how it feels when their device is used for something other than what it was intended for.

Why did Epic Games Remove fortnite from the App Store?

The hit game “Fortnite” has removed from the App Store by Apple. The reason why Apple removed this game from the App Store because of its in-game item called “V BUCKS”, Apple claims that this V BUCKS look like Apple’s money and people may get confused. V BUCKS are used to buy skins and other addons for the game. Epic Games tried to explain that they are two different things, but Apple did not listen. Epic Games are now planning to sue Apple. Epic Games and Apple have been at each others throats over the infamous blocking of the iOS game “Fortnite” from the Apple App Store, which has created a precedent in recent legal history. The reason for the removal is currently being debated in court by Apple and Epic Games, and will be determined in the following months to come. The main issue in the case is the iOS Developer Agreement, which almost all developers must agree with in order to publish apps on the App Store.

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