With a ruling on the Epic Games v Apple dispute pushed until July of next year, Fortnite looks like it will remain blocked from iOS devices until these two can settle their dispute. While overseeing the proceedings, however, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers made a point to call out Epic Games’ behavior as “not honest” regarding their violation of Apple’s contract.
Fortnite caught in the middle
What’s important to remember is that Judge Rogers’ role in this dispute was to weigh in on the legality of both companies’ actions. Epic Games’ primary argument has been that Apple operates a monopoly through the iOS store, which it claims violates laws written in the 19th century.
Apple’s legal argument was much simpler. All Apple needed to claim was that it had a legal right to run its business the way it had, that Epic Games had seen and agreed to their contract beforehand, and that the new update to Fortnite was pushed forward with foreknowledge that it violated their contract. None of that is deniable, making this entire case an uphill battle for Epic.
Which is perhaps why Epic Games has been leaning much more heavily on garnering public support with its attack ads and appeals to its customers’ sense of morality and fairness. However, these appeals, and the very preparedness with which Epic went into this fight, betrayed their intentions, and this is what Judge Rogers claimed was “not honest.”
Good PR doesn’t necessarily make for good legal argumentation
“You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That's the security issue. That's the security issue! There are a lot of people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you guys did, but it's still not honest."
Judge Rogers was believed to have been initially supportive of Epic and Fortnite, but became much more combative towards them during this hearing. With Epic’s weak legal position, it’s hard to expect a judge not to critique Epic for its behavior, especially with the way they wielded Fortnite like a weapon.
It’s important to remember during these hearings that Judge Rogers’ job is only to consider the legal position. Epic does not have a strong legal argument, and they are almost certainly hoping for legislative action instead. Unfortunately for Epic and Fortnite, legislative gridlock is the norm in the United States, even when Congress isn’t bogged down with an election, pandemic, protests, and so much more.
Even if you agree with Epic, or just want to play Fortnite, it’s fair to say that they picked the wrong time to go into this fight.Published 30 Sep 2020, 20:27 IST