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Epic vs Apple trial begins, Tim Sweeney takes the stand

The trial will run for approximately three weeks
Epic vs Apple trial begins, Tim Sweeney takes the stand

The Epic Games versus Apple court case over antitrust policies and how the App Store operates is now well underway.

Starting on May 3rd in a federal courthouse in Oakland, California, the three-week trial got off to a shaky start after the organisers failed to mute those listening in via a group phone line.

Several audience members were recorded as shouting obscenities, while others made remarks in support of Fortnite.

Once this issue was resolved, opening statements were laid out with both billion-dollar firms explaining the opposition's tactics for either a monopolisation (in Apple's case), or a large corporation just trying to get a bigger piece of the pie (referring to Epic).

Apple focused primarily on the success of the App Store, citing how it has generated jobs and a marketplace that offers over 1.8 million apps. It also stated that security was a big reason behind the current rules.

Epic argued that the 30 per cent cut was outdated and unfair, explaining that the iOS setup is nothing but a digital "walled garden" designed to keep developers in Apple's ecosystem.

"Total control"

During the opening day proceedings, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took to the stand, sharing that he was well aware of what the company was doing when it implemented Fortnite with an in-app payment system.

"I wanted the world to see that Apple exercises total control over all software on iOS, and it can use that control to deny users' access to apps,” said Sweeney on breaking the App Store policy (via Reuters).

It was also noted by the CEO that in "certain circumstances" Sony receives additional revenue as a result of agreeing to cross-play functionality. As reported by The Verge, an example given was if someone on an iPhone device began playing on PlayStation more regularly, then this may "trigger compensation".

Sony was confirmed as the only platform holder to earn these extra payouts.

The ongoing trial is expected to conclude sometime near the end of May and will be decided by US district judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, however, any outcome is likely to be appealed by both parties.

A document detailing Sony’s cross-platform revenue share policy.
A document detailing Sony’s cross-platform revenue share policy.

Interestingly, ahead of the trial, a number of documents showed that Fortnite makes the largest sum of its revenue from PlayStation, whereas iOS players only represented seven per cent.

It's easy to forget that in the middle of all of this, Epic is also going to war with Google over similar market control.