The latest of the Apple and Epic clash seems to be steering towards Valve's territory, whether Valve wants to be included or not. The ongoing lawsuit between the two tech giants started on August 13, 2020, as Epic attempted to bypass the App Store with Fortnite's microtransactions, resulting in Apple removing the Fortnite application and Epic Games promptly filing a lawsuit stating that Apple's 30% cut was crippling the ecosystem on the distribution of software.
Tim Sweeney had consistently argued his views about the 30% cut, which Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers noted was an industry standard for both brick-and-mortar shops and digital storefronts alike. As the two juggernauts continue the debate within the court systems, the industry has been bracing for the inevitable ripple effect from the court outcome.
The key question here is whether tech companies, such as Apple and Google, can be charged with content distribution monopolization for charging a tax on content hosted on their platforms. The inevitable response from the court system could mark a systemic change across the video game industry, currently one of the most profitable consumer-facing industries in the world. Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Nintendo, Valve, and even Epic Games itself could have their own frustrations when the final verdict is reached.
With this many players currently having a large stake in the game, some inter-corporate bleed-through appears inevitable. Valve is now finding itself dragged into the fray as Apple filed a subpoena against the Washington company to receive years of financial data, along with the information of every app listed on Steam and what it's priced at. Apple is demanding secretive documents that Valve would clearly much rather keep close to the chest.
Valve has reportedly met with Apple multiple times since the bizarre court case has begun, but has continued to refuse to produce documents for those two requests from Apple. It could be inferred that Apple has made, at a minimum, 32 separate requests from Valve regarding its private business dealings. Now, Apple is attempting to retrieve this information by leaning on the court system to force Valve's hand with the discovery request. Apple had previously completed this action against Samsung, and Apple is attempting to use that precedent to walk away with confidential data from the private company.
Clearly, Valve has a hand in how this battle will eventually play out, as the largest PC distribution platform currently available. That doesn't mean that it is willing to show a possible competitor precisely how its business is run. Now, it depends on the court systems to either force Valve's hand, or tell Apple that Valve doesn't have a dog directly in the fight. Whatever may happen next will echo through the industry.
As the legal battle between Apple and Fortnite's developer Epic Games continues, it looks like Tim Cook will be joining the fray. With a judge ruling that Cook sit for a deposition, the Apple CEO can no longer avoid the Fortnite case.
Back in 2020, Epic Games put out an update for the Fortnite app and this is where the trouble began. Essentially, the change involved a way for Epic Games to get around the payment method for the iOS App Store. Once this came to light, Apple took punitive action by removing one of the most dominate battle royales from its storefront. This led to the current legal battle, where the developer is taking the stance that Apple is violating antitrust regulations.
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