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Epic Games vs. Apple trial starts with chants of ‘Free Fortnite’

With the start of Epic Games vs. Apple, a public conference call was opened up. This allowed for anyone interested to call into the proceedings and, essentially, let out their grievances (or aspirations!) in a public forum. As one might expect, chaos ensued.

Today’s proceedings, which are expected to last the majority of May, were supposed to start at 9:15 AM Pacific/11:15 AM Eastern, and they certainly tried to make that happen. However, once the conference call was opened up, fans for both Epic Games and Apple called in and started calling out to anyone who would listen. As noted today by The Verge, court staff wasn’t able to properly mute all of the incoming callers as quickly as one might hope, and that led to a lot of chaos coming from the phone line.

Many of those calling in appeared to be fans of Epic Games and the mega-popular battle royale game Fortnite, which is currently not available on the iPhone or iPad. Those fans were calling out Epic Games’ go-to phrase: “Free Fortnite!”

There were plenty of other callers, too. Some of them were trying to hype up their YouTube channels, for instance. And others were supportive of Apple, too. All told, more than 200 participants hopped on the conference call, letting their voices be heard for an albeit short period of time.

Eventually the court staff was able to mute all incoming callers, and the proceedings kicked off.

Which means the Epic Games vs. Apple legal proceedings are now in full swing. So it will be interesting to see how this all pans out. You can check out the timeline of how we got here below.

The timeline

August 13, 2020

  • Epic Games updates Fortnite on the server-side, bypassing the App Store review process. It adds a direct payment option, breaking another rule in the process.
  • Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store due to Epic Games breaking the App Store rules.
  • Epic Games launches a media blitz, and it also sues Apple for anti-competitive behavior.
  • Epic launches “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”, a parody video of Apple’s original “1984” ad:

  • Google removes Fortnite from the Play Store, as Epic Games also violated the Play Store’s rules.
  • Epic sues Google, too.
  • Spotify weighs in! Unsurprisingly, it applauds Epic Games for its decision to stand up against Apple.

August 14, 2020

  • Facebook says Apple’s App Store fees make it impossible to help small businessesimpacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

August 17, 2020

  • Apple threatens to revoke Epic Games’ developer accounts for not only iOS, but also macOS. That cut-off is set to take place on Friday, August 28, 2020.

August 18, 2020

  • Apple issues an official statement on the matter in response to Epic Games.
  • Epic Games is revealed to have sought a coalition of “Apple critics” to help fight against Apple.

August 20, 2020

  • The Wall Street Journal and other news publications sign an open letter asking for Apple to reduce its App Store fees down to a standard 15%.

August 21, 2020

  • Epic Games promotes the #FreeFortnite Cup, or tournament, that is meant to bring even more attention against Apple, and is promoting “anti-Apple” prizes.
  • Epic sought special treatment for Fortnite before it declared war against Apple and the App Store’s guidelines.

August 24, 2020

  • Judge Gonzalez-Rogers rules that Apple does not need to reinstate Fortnite back into the App Store as the legal battle wages on. The judge also rules that Apple cannot revoke the Unreal Engine development tools, but it can still move forward with removing Epic’s developer account for iOS and macOS.
  • Apple says it agrees with the ruling made by Judge Gonzalez-Rogers, and is prepared to welcome Fortnite back onto iOS as soon as Epic Games is ready to follow the App Store guidelines.

August 26, 2020

  • Epic confirms that the new season of Fortnite, which is Marvel-themed, will not be available on iOS or Mac. Cross-platform functionality with those platforms is also removed.

August 28, 2020

  • Epic lets Fortnite players know in an email that it’s Apple’s fault they can’t play the new season of the game.
  • Apple revokes Epic Games’ App Store and developer accounts.

September 8, 2020

  • Apple countersues Epic Games in what it claims is a “breach of contract” related to its App Store practices.

September 9, 2020

  • Epic Games says Apple is going to disable the “Sign in with Apple” feature as soon as Friday, September 11.
  • Apple changes its mind regarding “Sign in with Apple”, allows existing customers to keep using it.

September 10, 2020

  • Epic Games CEO says Apple has “lost sight” of the tech industry’s “founding principles”

September 18, 2020

  • Epic Games shuts down Fortnite: Save the World for Mac as of September 23.

September 24, 2020

  • Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, and other companies create the “Coalition for App Fairness” to take on Apple’s and Google’s digital storefront policies.

September 28, 2020

  • U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers says the public’s opinion regarding the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games should be considered, suggests a jury should be involved.

October 7, 2020

  • Judge rules that the court battle between Apple and Epic Games will resume in May 2021.

November 5, 2020

  • Fortnite returns to iOS thanks to GeForce Now game streaming service, and only available via Safari.

December 17, 2020

  • Judge orders both Tim Cook and Craig Federighi to testify in the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games.

December 21, 2020

  • Epic Games sends out “Free Fortnite” loot boxes to influencers, trying to drum up support

January 14, 2021

  • Epic Games expands its legal battle with Apple and Google to the United Kingdom

February 1, 2021

  • Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is ordered to sit through a 7-hour deposition

February 10, 2021

  • Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney confirms that the company had been planning its lawsuit against Apple for months

February 22, 2021

  • Judge rules Epic Games can’t bring its lawsuit against Apple to the United Kingdom

February 25, 2021

  • After some delay, a judge ruled that Valve has to hand over requested documentation to Apple

March 1, 2021

  • Apple and Epic Games’ trial may be in person, and it is set to start in May

April 5, 2021

  • Facebook is trying very hard to avoid handing over requested documents to Apple

April 27, 2021

  • Apple has filed its expert witness testimony against Epic Games

April 28, 2021

  • Epic Games files its own expert witness testimony against Apple

April 28, 2021

  • Apple and Epic Games file revised witness testimonies

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