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Epic v Apple trial – three weeks of chaotic debate begins

Apple’s public spat with Fortnite creator Epic Games was a big story last year. (Missed it? See our explainer for details on what happened and why neither side has the public’s interests truly at heart.)

Epic wants to force Apple to allow third-party app stores on iOS. Apple wants to force Epic to play by the same rules as everybody else. Punters just want to see Fortnite back on the App Store. Three weeks of legal proceedings kicked off yesterday, and when they’re done we may finally see a resolution. Maybe.

Fortnite rakes in billions of dollars for Epic, but it’s no longer available on the App Store after Apple pulled it last year

In the meantime, don’t expect these two tech giants to hold any punches. It’s likely neither one will come out smelling of roses, with both companies attempting to dig up dirt on the other. Already we’ve seen details on exactly how much Epic games pays to secure exclusives and “free” games for its store, while private emails from Apple execs debating App Store fees have been made public.

Apple is already quoted as saying “Epic wants us to be Android, but we don’t want to be,” in reference to how Android users can bypass the Google Play Store if they wish. In contrast, Apple’s “walled garden” approach keeps a tight hold on what is and isn’t allowed on iOS, making the platform much more secure but limiting flexibility.

Things didn’t get off to a smooth start, either, with a comically chaotic opening to proceedings. Technical problems meant the court failed to mute its call-in line and the trial was bombarded with voice calls from Fortnite fans screaming at each other. Lots of swearing, chanting, and plenty of passionate arguments from both sides threatened to overrun the actual debate until the court finally figured out its phone system.

Though we wouldn’t like to predict the outcome, one thing’s for certain: this legal battle certainly makes good theatre.