On Monday, Apple and Epic Games will meet in court to decide one of the most consequential antitrust arguments in the history of the tech industry. The trial has been nearly a year in the making, following Apple’s removal of Fortnite from the App Store in August 2020. It’s arguably the biggest courtroom showdown Apple has engaged in since its smartphone patent war with Samsung nearly a decade ago.
This time, however, Apple is the one on defense. Epic alleges that the iPhone maker’s App Store and in-app purchase policies both violate antitrust law. At the heart of the case are arguments over whether Apple can and should exert total control over iOS and the App Store, or whether developers should be allowed to distribute apps over alternative marketplaces or simply bypass Apple’s longstanding 30% commission on digital goods.
The first trial here will certainly be appealed by whoever loses, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this drag on for years: Remember, Google v. Oracle lasted from 2010 to 2021 — eleven years!