Judge Yvonne Gonzalez has met with lawyers from Apple and Epic Games in order to arrange the specifics of a trial that will seek to decide whether Apple’s App Store practices are monopolistic and anti-competitive, as reported by MacRumors. The judge has said that the case is significant enough to be heard in person, with witnesses believed to be less likely to lie when testifying in a physical court.
The trial may be changed to a virtual one taking place over Zoom if COVID-19 numbers are high at the time of the trial, but it is due to start on May 3 no matter what happens. If the current plans go ahead, witnesses will have to travel to Northern California to testify, unless they have valid health reasons not to travel. The trial will be held as a bench trial, meaning there will be no jury.
Epic’s lawsuit against Apple alleges that the tech giant is a “behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation,” saying that Apple’s practices are anti-competitive and monopolistic. Epic’s main beef with Apple is over the 30% cut it takes from App Store payments, as well as rules disallowing apps on the App Store from processing microtransactions outside of Apple’s payment system.
Apple has since lowered its fee to 15% for developers earning under $1 million a year, which doesn’t apply to Epic Games. Fortnite is still unavailable for downloads or new updates on iOS, while Android players can only download the game through third-party app stores such as the Samsung Galaxy store.
The trial is due to start on May 3, with Judge Yvonne Gonzalez hoping for a trial of around two to three weeks, while Epic wants it to last around four to five weeks.