The battle between Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Epic Games began in court on Monday and is expected to last for three weeks. The court will be ultimately deciding whether Apple has unilateral control over the software distributed on the iOS platform, and if Apple is abusing its power over developers through the tight regulations surrounding app distribution and payment processing.
Apple was sued by Epic Games in August 2020 after the developer's most recognized game, Fortnite, was kicked off of the App Store after Epic implemented its own in-app payment system. Players were able to pay Epic directly, which circumvented Apple’s requirements for their iOS applications that such payments must go through the company’s own payment system and pay a mandatory 30% commission.
Tim Sweeney, chief executive of the video game publisher Epic Games, testified that he was aware that implementing Epic’s own in-app payment systems went against App Store regulations.
Epic will not be seeking monetary damages, but rather they are calling for a change to Apple's regulations for software and applications distributed on the iOS platform and their control over forcing developers to distribute apps through the App Store and utilize its payment system.
This represents one of Apple's most important trials in its history, as the results could act as a catalyst for new antitrust laws and potentially alter Apple's business model going forward.