We’re still about a month away before the Epic vs. Apple legal fight moves to its May 3rd bench trial, which means we’ve still got weeks left for both Epic Games and Apple to continue their legal filing-based slap-fighting. Freakin’ yay.
We’ll begin with Apple’s argument that the assertion of having no competition is false because the case should take into account the broader video game market, which means Apple is in direct competition with Nintendo and Microsoft. Incidentally, this means that Apple customers have ways of purchasing virtual tokens from devs on other platforms such as Windows PCs and using those tokens on iPhones, thereby circumventing the “Apple tax” that’s at the heart of Epic’s argument.
Meanwhile, Epic has filed a brief with testimony from Apple execs regarding the iPhone’s iMessenger app. Statements in the brief include word from 2013 that iMessage could also have an Android version of the app to let users of both platforms “exchange messages with one another seamlessly,” but plans to do so were tamped down by other Apple execs’ concerns that doing so “would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.” This sentiment apparently is held as recently as 2016, with another quote from a former Apple employee stating, “The #1 most difficult [reason] to leave the Apple universe app is iMessage […] iMessage amounts to serious lock-in” — a comment affirmed by Apple exec Phil Schiller, who wrote, “Moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us, this email illustrates why.”
Of course, what these two developments mean for the upcoming case isn’t certain: Readers will note that the judge hearing the case, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, had pointed out that this legal fight could have “significant and serious ramifications for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft and their video game platforms,” while Epic’s testimony documents might be a connection –however tenuous — to Epic’s assertion that Apple is a monopoly.
We’ve got several more weeks of this, folks.