In one of the greatest battles of 2020, Fortnite publisher Epic Games took on tech giants Apple and Google because of the 30% cut they take from all app purchases. Since August 2020, Epic and Apple have faced off in hearings and trials, after which both made their final statements on 24 May. While they await the judge’s decision in the US, something’s brewing down under, in Australian courts.
This week, Australia’s Federal Court ruled in favour of Epic Games after the game developer issued a counter-appeal because Apple wanted to keep the fight in the US. The former detailed that public policy justifies a separate trial Down Under, while the latter wanted the case settled in the US District Court.
Epic vs Apple — the showDown Under
If you’re not quite up to date with the Epic vs Apple Saga — here’s the TL;DR version:
- Apple’s App Store charges a 30% fee for all app and in-app purchases.
- Epic Games tried to circumvent the fee by directing Fortnite players to their site to make their purchases there instead.
- Apple didn’t like that.
- Epic took the US tech company to court for anti-competitive behaviour.
“This is a positive step forward for Australian consumers and developers who are entitled to fair access and competitive pricing across mobile app stores,” an Epic spokesperson said, according to Cnet. “We look forward to continuing our fight for increased competition in app distribution and payment processing in Australia and around the world.”
There may be yet another appeal on the way, however, according to Apple. “The initial decision in April from Australia’s Federal Court correctly ruled that Epic should be held to the agreement it made to resolve disputes in California. We respectfully disagree with the ruling made today and plan to appeal,” a spokesperson said, again according to Cnet.
An Epic scale
But it does look like the case has spilt over its initial reach, and the two massive corporates will now face off in a few different territories. Epic has sued the tech company in the UK and in the European Union in separate cases. The UK tribunal rejected the case, saying the courtroom wasn’t the place to resolve the issue.
While we wait patiently for Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ verdict on the case in California, Apple and Epic may have to lawyer up in the Southern Hemisphere as well.
This comes following Australia’s controversial decision to implement a law forcing tech giants like Google and Facebook to pay for the news they distribute. The country has absolutely no shill when it comes to tech companies, so let’s see how this one plays out.