The dispute between Apple and Epic Games has been raging for almost two weeks now, but this may just be the start of a long legal battle. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is listening to the case, said she was “inclined” not to ask Apple to allow the return of Fortnite to the App Store, but that the decision to terminate the Epic Games developer account might be reversed.
On August 13, Fortnite updated to include Epic's proprietary payment system that allows players to purchase in-game items at lower prices. Epic claimed that Apple's in-app purchases system is forcing developers to charge users higher amounts, as the company takes a 30% commission on each sale.
Since Apple is preventing developers from offering any paid in-app content by evading its in-app purchases system, Fortnite was subsequently banned from the iOS app store. Epic Games began a public campaign inviting Fortnite players to join the company against Apple's decision, which resulted in Apple ending the Epic developer account.
Epic Games sued Apple to remove Fortnite from the app store and also to suspend its developer account, alleging that the app store's rules are not competitive. In response, Apple said that Epic was seeking private treatment and that all developers are required to follow the same rules.
The two companies have yet to agree on how much time they will need to work on their defenses before the trial. Epic has ordered 4 to 6 months, while Apple said it needs 6 to 8 months. Meanwhile, Judge Rogers said she may not ask Apple to reverse its decision to ban Fortnite, but that does not mean that Apple will win this battle.
In other words, while Apple may not be compelling to allow Fortnite to return to the App Store, the judge may ask Apple to grant Epic Games access to its development platforms. Epic does not offer other relevant iOS apps at this time, but the company is responsible for the Unreal Engine – which many developers use to create various games.
Judge Rogers has expressed concerns about how Apple is blocking Epic from accessing development platforms that could affect the gaming business. It also considers that Apple has decided to impose a "retaliatory" punishment on Epic.