The Apple vs. Epic Games trial is continuing, and Apple has filed a motion to ask the judge to rule on one of the ten claims Epic Games has made against it. Apple is asking for a partial judgment on Epic’s claim that it has been unlawfully barred from accessing iOS through the App Store. Epic calls iOS an “essential facility.”
Epic Games argues that it’s been denied access to iOS, which it claims is an “essential facility” due to the fact it’s been blocked access to the App Store. Apple is specifically accused of violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act through “its unlawful denial to Epic and other app distributors of an essential facility—access to iOS.”
Apple says testimony from one of Epic Games’s own witnesses regarding the App Store that nothing they say is referencing anything that can be deemed an “essential facility.”
Epic’s experts did not opine on whether iOS is an essential facility, or whether Epic has been denied access to iOS. Rather, Dr. Evans admitted in his written direct testimony that Epic and other developers are provided “access to the tools and permissions for writing iOS apps.”
And on the stand, Dr. Evans admitted that he was not “expressing any opinion on anything termed an essential facility or anything related to an essential facility claim in this case.”
Apple claims that the iOS App Store can easily be replicated and duplicated, and that iOS is not an essential facility. Apple says Epic Games had full access to App Store distribution before it began its legal battle against Apple.
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.