Epic Games vs Apple legal row: Apple’s Fortnite ban is here to stay

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on September 29, 2020 Published on September 29, 2020

Apple argues that its polices were meant to protect users from malicious apps

Inthe Epic Games versus Apple legal row, a federal judge in a hearing on Monday upheld the ban on Fortnite from the iOS app store.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California hinted that the high stakes lawsuit may as well be a landmark anti-trust suit.

Rogers upheld the ban slamming Epic Games’ tactics and arguments. It stated that despite everything, the Fortnite maker had lied and breached the iOS app store’s policies.

“You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That’s the security issue,” Rogers told Epic as quoted by CNN.

“There are a lot of people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you guys did, but it’s still not honest,” she added.

Also read Apple’s India store goes live online

Malicious apps

Apple argued that its polices were meant to protect users from malicious apps. While Epic’s counterargument stated that it did not pose any threats as it was a credible business on the iOS store. It further added that the ban had caused its businesses irreparable harm, but failed to persuade the judge who stated that she couldn’t question the economics of the industry. Rogers added that despite the iOS ban, Epic had other ways to provide access to users.

“Walled gardens have existed for decades,” she said. “Nintendo has had a walled garden. Sony has had a walled garden. Microsoft has had a walled garden. What Apple’s doing is not much different... It’s hard to ignore the economics of the industry, which is what you're asking me to do,” Rogers said as quoted by the report.

Rogers further added that she would like the case to be heard in front of a jury and that it is unlikely to go on trial any time before July 2021.

Apple and Google last month had removed Fortnite from their respective app stores after Epic snuck in an update that allows users to purchase in-game currency at a lower rate directly from its payments system bypassing the app stores’ payment system. Epic had retaliated by filing a lawsuit against Apple highlighting its “anti-competitive” behaviour. It had further filed an injunction motion to get Fortnite back on the store.

Rogers in a hearing last month had restricted Apple from taking any action against Epic’s developer account and had maintained that the ban on Fortnite will remain in place.

Google, on Monday, weighed in on the ban from its Play Store. In a blog post regarding third-party app stores, Google had said that even if Google disagrees with a developer on business terms, a developer can still distribute their apps on the Android platform in other ways.

“Even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform. This is why Fortnite, for example, is available directly from Epic's store or from other app stores including Samsung's Galaxy App store,” Google said.

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Published on September 29, 2020
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