Sept. 28 (UPI) — Apple and Epic Games head to court in California Monday to begin a legal battle that experts say could lead to a landmark decision reshaping the relationships between app stores and developers.
The legal fight stems from Apple’s decision to pull Epic’s popular Fortnite video game from its app store last month after Epic introduced a method for users to bypass Apple’s in-app payment system in favor of its own.
Apple said it was a violation of its app store policy.
Some developers have long complained about Apple’s and Google‘s ability to charge developers as much as 30% to use their app stores.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will be asked to force Apple to allow Fortnite back into its store under Epic’s in-house payment option. Rogers could also decide if Apple can block other third-party apps from using Epic’s Unreal Engine development software in its app store.
Opponents say the app store fees, which have generated Apple and Google millions of dollars, are unfair and anti-competitive.
Epic is seeking a preliminary injunction, while Apple contends that the developer is responsible for its own problems.
Apple attorney Douglas Vetter countered that Epic’s demand is unreasonable, as it’s asking for “all the benefits” of Apple’s store without paying for them.
Some experts have said although Epic may be viewed as the “good guy” in the fight, it faces a greater challenge than Apple in the courtroom.
“Epic faces an uphill battle,” expert Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School, noted. “Apple’s pricing policies are problematic, and antitrust law should probably do something about it. But courts are very reluctant to dictate who a company, even a monopolist, has to do business with.”