On Monday, a federal judge stated that she was inclined to approve the request of Epic Games to prevent Apple from terminating its developer accounts. According to Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, she examined Epic’s request through “two lenses.”
One lens views the harm that would affect Epic’s games. The other lens to look into hundreds of other games that would be greatly affected if Epic couldn’t maintain its Unreal Engine software.
The hearing was done over Zoom.
When Epic argued that the company suffered irreparable damage after Apple removed its Fortnite game from the App Store, the judge wasn’t convinced. She said that Epic created the problem. For her, creating the harm yourself can’t have an irreversible injury.
The judge also said that Epic could eliminate its direct payment option and follow the rules. All entities will wait for a trial date.
Epic’s lawyer said that implementing a direct payment option was a strategy. Epic wants to break from Apple’s strict payment system and the prohibition that the iPhone maker has on its competition.
According to Judge Rogers, she’s inclined to grant a TRO to prevent Apple from eliminating access to Unreal Engine. She views the attack on the platform as an overreach.
App developers need Unreal Engine to help them deploy their apps on multiple platforms. If Epic stops offering that ability with the Unreal Engine, it will stop existing. Epic’s lawyer said that developers are avoiding the engine because they’re afraid of what apple may do.
Epic Games develops the Unreal Engine. It’s a separate entity known as Epic Games International. According to Apple’s lawyer, the SARL can act as a shell corporation. That is, Epic can shift blame whenever and wherever it pleases. Apple said that if it’s forced to maintain Unreal Engine, Epic Game’s behavior can easily spread.
But Epic’s lawyer argued that Epic Games International is a different entity. Apple attacks it by removing Epic’s primary account.
Furthermore, Epic’s lawyer considered the in-app purchase strategy as something similar to Expedia, which also takes 30% on hotel rate and room service charges.
As Epic bypassed the App Store’s payment system, it violated Apple’s developer contract. As a consequence, the tech giant removed the Fornite update from its marketplace. But, just hours of doing it, Epic filed an antitrust lawsuit against the iPhone maker. It also launched a campaign that included a video that involves Apple’s 1984 ad.
Because of the ruling, Fornite will still be off the App Store. However, Apple can’t stop Epic Games International’s developer account.
When Apple filed to the court, it included emails between Apple executives and Epic. The emails confirmed that Epic was prepared to push an anti-Apple marketing campaign. The Fortnite update was Epic’s attempt to force Apple to let go of the 30% transaction fee.
Both companies can litigate against each other. However, their legal battle must not create harm to bystanders. Other tech companies are voicing their support to Epic, including Microsoft.