But with Apple so directly and publicly, Epic, a $ 17.3 billion, 29-year-old privately held company based in Carey, North Carolina, could take part in the fight for its life. Apple has a market capitalization of nearly $ 2 trillion and almost unlimited resources. Last month, he stopped supporting Epic Unreal Engine, a software development tool used by thousands of developers. This surprised the smaller company.
“We acknowledged the theoretical possibility in advance, but thought it would be so pointless,” Apple said in shutting down Unreal Engine. Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic, said in an interview last week.
In court on Monday, Judge Gonzalez Rogers sharply criticized Epic’s decision last month to violate Apple’s payment rules. “There are a lot of people in the audience who think you’re a hero for what you’ve done, but it’s still not fair,” she said.
Epic claimed that removing Fortnite from the App Store caused it irreparable damage. But Judge Gonzalez Rogers said Epic’s advertising campaign around the brawl, including a parody video of Apple’s famous 1984 ad and the hashtag #FreeFortnite, apparently boosted the company’s goodwill.
Epic’s attorney, Catherine B. Forest, a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, defended the ad campaign.
“When you take on the biggest company in the world and know that it will take revenge, you will not lie on the street and die,” she said. “You plan very carefully.”
Apple has announced that it will restore Fortnite in its App Store only if Epic complies with its rules.
“They don’t need this court’s emergency help – they have the keys to a free Fortnite right there in their pocket,” said Apple attorney Theodore J. Butrows Jr., a partner at Gibson Dunn.