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Tim vs Tim: CEOs of Apple, Epic Games to testify in court over Fortnite App Store trial

Epic Games filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple last year and this case may finally reach its end.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | March 22, 2021 | Updated 16:28 IST
Fortnite is among the most popular mobile titles (Source: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Apple and Epic Games have listed their CEOs as potential witnesses for the case.
  • Epic Games dragged Apple to the court over the Fortnite App Store issue.
  • Apple had removed Fortnite last year for not complying with App Store policy.

The Fortnite controversy that landed both Epic Games and Apple in a pickle is finally going to turn into a high-profile courtroom drama. In separate legal filings last week, Apple and Epic Games listed their chief executive officers as potential witnesses in the antitrust lawsuit that Epic Games dragged Apple into for booting Fortnite from the iOS App Store over "non-compliance" with policies. Over the period of seven months, there have been several developments in the case but the final showdown -- believed to be the fight decider -- will involve the CEOs Tim Cook and Tim Sweeney.

Apart from the CEOs of both Apple and Epic Games, there are going to be other top-level officials from both companies available for the court case. Among them will be the senior vice president at Apple, Craig Federighi and App Store head Phil Schiller -- who was looking after marketing at Apple previously. From Epic Games, there will be vice president Mark Rein in addition to the CEO. And interestingly, this high-profile lawsuit would also involve Facebook's vice president of gaming, Microsoft's vice president of Xbox business development, and a good deal of other officials.

In the statement, Apple said, "Our senior executives look forward to sharing with the court the very positive impact the App Store has had on innovation, economies across the world and the customer experience over the last 12 years. We feel confident the case will prove that Epic purposefully breached its agreement solely to increase its revenues, which is what resulted in their removal from the App Store." But Epic Games, on the other hand, is preparing to get Apple's version overruled in the court. "The chorus of developers speaking out against Apple and their anticompetitive practices has become louder," Epic Games said in a statement.

The entire feud between Apple and Epic Games stems from the stringent App Store policy that several other big developers have previously contested besides the Fortnite maker. Spotify was among the big names that showed support to Epic Games, voicing against Apple for the 30 per cent fee commission it charges app developers. Time and again, developers have tried to circumvent this policy but have not been successful as expected. Much like how Spotify discontinued its subscription service on its iOS app -- requiring customers to buy subscriptions either from the web version or from an Android phone, Epic Games launched an in-app payment system for Fortnite -- and this very thing did not go well with Apple. After some warnings, Apple kicked Fortnite out of the App Store about seven months back.

The trial is expected to begin on May 3 and would continue for weeks. In addition to in the US, Epic Games has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union against Apple over the App Store policy.

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