NEW YORK, Oct 10 ― A federal judge today denied the latest bid by Epic Games to force Fortnite back into the App Store while its lawsuit against Apple heads for trial next year.
The two firms are fighting over whether Apple’s tight control of the App Store, and its 30 percent cut of revenue, counts as monopolistic behavior. US District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who had previously rejected a similar request by Epic, rejected the battle royale game maker’s motion for an injunction ordering Apple to return Fortnite to the App Store immediately.
“Epic Games has never adequately explained its rush, other than its disdain for the situation,” Rogers said in a ruling denying an injunction ahead of trial.
“The current predicament is of its own making.” Apple pulled Fortnite from its online mobile apps marketplace on August 13 after Epic released an update that dodges revenue sharing with the iPhone maker. In her latest ruling, the judge again compared any loss of business suffered by Epic due to Fortnite’s eviction by Apple to a “self-inflicted wound.
“Due to the legal row, Fortnite fans using iPhones or other Apple devices no longer have access to the latest game updates, including the new season released at the end of August. Rogers expressed empathy for Fortnite lovers unable to get the game on Apple mobile devices.
“This is especially so during these continued difficult times that is the Covid-19 pandemic era, where gaming and virtual worlds are both social and safe,” Rogers said in the ruling.
“However, there is significant public interest in requiring parties to adhere to their contractual agreements or in resolving business disputes through the normal course.” Rogers pointed out that Epic could get Fortnite back in the App Store by using Apple’s payment system for transactions.
Apple does not allow users of its popular devices to download apps from anywhere but its App Store, and developers have to use Apple’s payment system which takes its cut. Epic is accusing Apple of being “a monopolist” due to its tight grip on the App Store.
The judge said at a recent hearing that she didn’t expect a trial over the dispute to start until July of next year, at the earliest, given her calendar.
The legal battle comes as Apple puts priority on selling digital content and subscription services to the one billion-plus people around the world using devices powered by its iOS mobile operating software.
Major app developers including Epic and streaming music giant Spotify recently formed a coalition to press for new terms with the major online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.
Google runs a Play Store for apps tailored for devices powered by its Android software and also takes a commission, but people are free to get apps from other online venues. ― Afp-Relaxnews