Monday marked the start of the Epic Games v. Apple trial in Oakland, California, with the two companies facing off over the iOS developer’s August removal of Fortnite from the App Store and the policies that led up to that point.
So far, the trial has featured a two-day deposition of Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, an outspoken critic of Apple and the man responsible for suing the phone maker. Lawyers from Epic and Apple both cross-examined Sweeney throughout Monday and Tuesday, with questions ranging from basic video game topics to complex ones around Fortnite cross-wallet transactions and cross-platform play between device, as well as Epic’s desire to break open the App Store policies through a legal, marketing, and public relations campaign.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
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Sweeney emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2015 suggesting iOS be open
Apple and Epic’s contentious 2020 summer negotiations wasn’t the first time Epic campaign for an open iOS.
In a new document submitted to the court, Sweeney emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook in June 2015 suggesting that Apple separate its compliance review for iOS apps from the App Store. Cook, confused who Sweeney was, forwarded the email to two of his executives, Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue, asking if Sweeney was “the guy that was at one of our rehearsals?” referring to Apple’s WWDC 2015 conference. That year, Epic presented the Unreal Editor and a very early version of Fortnite on Mac to attendees of the conference.
In the email Sweeney argued the separation of iOS app compliance checks and the App Store submission process would allow iOS to remain secure while allowing for a free market via sideloading. Sweeney said it’d be a positive look for Apple and predicted that Apple would face “political, regulatory, moral, and competitive forces” in the future. Apple is now under fire not just from Epic for its App Store policies, but also from antitrust regulators in the U.S. and European Union.