App Store Trial Could Reshape Mobile Market

Apple v. Epic Games had a chaotic start Monday
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2021 6:25 PM CDT
App Store Trial Could Reshape Mobile Market
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney enters the Ronald V. Dellums building in Oakland, Calif., to attend his company's federal court case against Apple on Monday, May 3, 2021.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A court battle that could reshape the market for apps on mobile devices got underway Monday—and the Epic Games v. Apple trial had a chaotic start. The dispute began when Apple kicked Epic's "Fortnite" game off the App Store. A court conference call allowed callers to listen in but court clerks failed to mute participants and for the first 20 minutes, callers could be heard pleading for the return of the game, the Verge reports. In opening arguments in the federal antitrust trial, lawyers for Epic described App Store policies as monopolistic and said Epic wasn't suing for financial game, but to reform Apple's "walled garden" for app developers. Epic's lawyers say the 30% cut Apple takes from in-app purchases is far too steep. They accuse the company of using its control of its operating system to stifle competition.

"Epic is solely seeking changes to Apple's future behavior," said Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, per the AP. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to testify toward the end of the trial, which is probably around three weeks away. Lawyers for Apple argued Monday that tightly controlling what is allowed on Apple devices ensure "privacy and liability, security and quality" for users—and since "Fortnite" is available on other platforms, the App Store itself shouldn't be seen as a monopoly. Analysts say that if Epic prevails in the trial, it will be a landmark ruling that could lower costs for consumers by allowing them to install apps from a variety of sources on their mobile devices, CBC reports. (Read more Apple stories.)

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