This whole mess was initiated by Epic, though, when it decided to break its contract with Apple. Every developer that makes a buck (or a whole lot of bucks, as is the case with Epic) from apps hosted on the App Store has to fork over a 30 percent cut to Apple. That includes the sale of the app itself, and in-game purchase, which for Fortnite entails exchanging real currency for V-bucks.
Judge Rogers is not making a determination on the outcome. Instead, this revolves around Epic’s request for a preliminary injunction, to force Apple to reinstate Fortnite back into the App Store. However, Judge Rogers did not seem all that sympathetic, at one point saying she was “not particularly persuaded” by one of the legal arguments Epic made. She also threw cold water on Epic’s claim issue with Apple have a walled garden, so to speak.
“Walled gardens have existed for decades. Nintendo has had a walled garden. Sony has had a walled garden. Microsoft has had a walled garden. What Apple’s doing is not much different… It’s hard to ignore the economics of the industry, which is what you’re asking me to do,” Judge Rogers said.
Apple also had some harsh comments in reference to Epic, saying its CEO Tim Sweeney is “trying to be the Pied Piper of other developers,” trying to get them to “cheat” and “breach” their contracts.
While this case remains unsolved in the early going, the judge’s remarks highlight the kind of uphill battle Epic is facing. From the outside looking in, it is difficult to envision Epic ultimately being successful. That said, she offered Epic a glimmer of hope, saying she agrees that “there is an uproar in the marketplace about a lack of competition” for app stores that distribute iOS applications.