Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers who is overseeing the Apple vs Epic Games case in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. In the initial hearing itself, the judge made it clear that Fortnite’s removal from the App Store is Epic’s own doing and that the “irreparable harm” has been created by the company itself.
Epic can always undo the damage caused by simply removing the direct payment method in Fortnite which is something that Apple has stated as well. This is Judge Gonzalez Rogers’ opinion, though it could very well give an indication of the final outcome of the case.
The judge is not entirely in Apple’s favor though as the company cannot entirely terminate Epic Games’ developer account which would affect Unreal Engine and hundreds of apps and games that don’t depend on it. Plus, the entire matter has been caused by a Fortnite update and has nothing to do with Unreal Engine. She expressed her concerns over Apple overreaching and threatening to terminate the secondary developer agreements with Epic Games and Epic International for Unreal Engine as the former should not affect the latter.
The contract with Epic International has not been breached. Apple reached beyond its one contract with Epic Games and is using its hard leverage. It’s slammed Epic Games with this additional penalty. It does to me look retaliatory. I don’t see any harm to Apple to restrain you from not impacting the Unreal Engine on that platform or the developer’s engine. It looks like overreach to me.
Apple’s counsel argued that since both accounts are handled by the same individuals, the developer fees are paid by the same credit card, the company always terminates contracts for affiliate accounts as well for non-compliance of guidelines when a breach like this occurs.
Interestingly, as Foss Patents’ Florian Mueller notes, Epic Games’ counsel did not even argue on why they could not put the older version of Fortnite back on the App Store and why a TRO against Apple was needed.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will be issuing a temporary order soon which going by her inclination will restrain Apple from terminating the Epic International agreement which affects Unreal Engine, but won’t do much for bringing Fortnite back on the store since that has been caused by Epic Games entirely. Another hearing will then be held on September 28 for a longer-term solution.