As hearings continue in the case of Epic Games vs Apple, legal opinions continue to fly about on the way to a trial by the two tech giants. Many have come to Epic’s aid as the Fortnite developer has vied for positive public opinion in the matter, but a recent hearing saw a judge lash Epic hard for the legitimacy of its tactics, calling honesty into question in the way Epic bypassed Apple’s systems.
The latest hearing of the Epic vs Apple case took place on Monday, September 28, 2020, as reported by CNN and following a rejection of injunction to restore Fortnite on iOS platforms. The recent hearing of the case saw Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California tease a possible timeframe of July 2021 for the actual trial, but Gonzales Rogers also shared some criticisms of Epic in the hearing, pointing out the issues regarding how Epic began the case.
"You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That's the security issue. That's the security issue!" Gonzalez Rogers told Epic. "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."
In its defense, Epic admitted that it breached its contract with Apple, but justified that it was for the purpose of non-compliance with Apple’s non-competitive policies and forcing a legal battle thereafter.
“When you are taking on the biggest company in the world, and you're taking it on where you know it's going to retaliate, you don't lie down in the street and die," Epic lawyer Katherine Forrest replied. "You plan very carefully on how you're going to respond.”
It’s hard to argue that Epic didn’t have a battle with Apple in mind from the get-go. The developer was extremely quick to respond to Apple with a Fortnite spoof of the iOS giant’s famous 1984 ad. It seems pretty clear that Epic may have also been spurred to action by the fact that Apple seemed to be making deals in defiance of its own supposed blanket app fee by offering Amazon a better deal in order to secure exclusivity of Prime Video on Apple TV platforms.
Epic Games has seen the likes of Microsoft come to its defense in support of keeping Unreal Engine available on mobile platforms. That said, Epic’s intentional moves to spur a legal battle may become a crucial element in the ongoing case. Though we won’t know until at least July of 2021 where the chips fall, this is likely not the last major opinion we’ll hear on the matter leading up to Apple and Epic Games’ trial.