Sep 29, 2020 - Technology

Apple vs. Epic trial will likely come next summer

A photo of an iPhone displaying a loading screen for Epic Games' Fortnite app.
Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Epic Games' legal fight with Apple is likely headed to a July trial, and Fortnite won't be back on the App Store anytime soon, Apple Insider reports from a virtual hearing in the case Monday.

Why it matters: In challenging Apple, Epic has raised a banner for smaller companies seeking to curb Apple's power as a gatekeeper to mobile phone users. But the fight is getting messy and will almost certainly see it drag into next year.

Flashback: Epic sued Apple last month after Apple removed its game Fortnite from the App Store for breaking Apple's rules against alternative payment systems, which Epic did to get around Apple's 30% commission on in-app purchases.

What they're saying: Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Roberts suggested the case be heard before a jury rather than a bench trial. Roberts said during Monday's hearing that Epic put itself in this situation and Fortnite could have been re-admitted to the App Store if it followed Apple's rules, according to the Apple Insider report.

  • Gonzalez also said Epic had not been forthright with Apple and pushed back on Epic's declaration that Apple is a monopolist, according to the Apple Insider report.
  • Epic did not have documents to produce for discovery at today's hearing, which Gonzalez said was not acceptable, according to the FT's Patrick McGee.

What's next: We'll know Tuesday whether Apple or Epic choose to demand a jury trial. Initial disclosures for the case are due October 12 and complete document production is due by January 6 with a potential trial date next July.

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