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Judge Warns apple and Epic Games Against Any “Surprises” Ahead of May 3 Trial

Judge Warns apple and Epic Games Against Any “Surprises” Ahead of May 3 Trial

The judge presiding over the upcoming Apple vs. Epic Games trial has warned both parties against springing any “surprises” before the May 3 trial date.

In the filing published on Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers denied a motion by Apple to prevent Epic from allowing certain third-party witnesses from taking part in the trial.

Apple’s lawyers were looking to exclude three third-party witnesses for Epic (Vivek Sharma of Facebook, Microsoft’s Lori Wright, and Benjamin Simon of Yoga Buddhi). Apple claimed that Epic had violated rules for not disclosing the witnesses as individuals, instead listing their employers.

In the ruling’s summary, the Court warned both sides to pay fair.

“The Court has repeatedly instructed that trial is not an opportunity for surprises,” the filing reads. “Instead, it is an opportunity for the Court to measuredly consider and weigh the relevant evidence to reach a final determination. This dispute presents no exception.”

The filing concludes with advice to witnesses that are “concerned with an adverse credibility determination at the bench trial” that they should “ensure that they adequately and timely produce such documents in advance of their depositions.”

At the core of the legal battle is how much control and revenue share Apple and Google should have in relation to popular apps. Epic Games’ online game “Fortnite” was removed from both Apple’s App Store and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play Store last year after Epic introduced a payment system that replaced the traditional in-app purchases system that allowed Apple and Google to take a 30% share of users’ spending that they had charged Epic.

Epic Games will attempt to show that the 30% cut Apple takes from apps and in-app purchases is “oppressive” as is the requirement for developers to use in-app purchase mechanisms put in place by Apple.  Meanwhile, Apple will be attempting to prove that App Store prices are fair and in line with its competitors and that the App Store policies currently in place offer protection for App Store users.