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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Apple and Epic Games burned the midnight oil Wednesday, as the two companies prepared to lay out their case ahead of a May trial in front of a federal judge in Oakland.

Catch up quick: Last year, Epic added its own in-app payment system into Fortnite, despite prohibitions by both Google and Apple on such moves.

  • Both stores pulled Fortnite from their app stores and Epic immediately sued both companies. Apple has also countersued Epic.
  • A court denied Epic's request for a temporary restraining order to keep Fortnite in the App Store, but also temporarily stopped Apple from removing Epic's access to developer tools.

What's new: While the full filings weren't available last night, there's not much mystery as to what each side is arguing.

  • Apple contends that its 30% commission is in line with other digital marketplaces and that companies that don't want to use its in-app payment system can sell digital currencies over the web.
  • Epic is expected to argue that the relevant market is that for in-app purchases on the iPhone and that Apple is using the fact that the App Store is the only way to get apps to force developers to use its payment system for in-app purchases.

What's next: The trial is set to begin May 3 in Oakland, California, with Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers deciding the case. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to testify, as are Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and a number of other top Apple executives.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Apr 7, 2021 - Technology

Apple's stricter rules on digital tracking to take effect soon

Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning with iOS 14.5, due out in the next couple of weeks, iPhone apps will have to ask users for permission to track their digital activity.

Why it matters: Only if a user gives permission will apps have access to the unique advertising identifier assigned to each device. Apple will also take action against apps that try to fingerprint individual devices via other methods.

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.