Facebook Is Withholding Documents From Apple Relating To The Latter’s Upcoming Trial Against Epic Games

As the Apple vs. Epic trial draws near, Facebook has attempted to stir up the pot by actively choosing to withhold documents requested by the former.

Let us venture into some background, since such a wild opening sentence would probably benefit from the context. Apple and Epic’s legal brawl has been in its preliminary stages since all the way back in August 2020, but tensions have been high for quite a while. The source of this legal conundrum stems from policies regarding the Apple Store that Epic Games has been particularly unhappy about. Put simplistically the founder of Epic, Tim Sweeney, has long questioned the need of online stores such as Valve, Google Play, and the Apple Store. He argues that the 30% revenue cut such Big Tech outlets reap from the games they publish is borderline atrocious, and needs stemming. Having no choice but to publish their wildly popular game Fortnite on such outlets for mobile devices, Epic Games retaliated by offering discounts for in-game currency if purchased directly from their own Epic Store, choosing to withhold such a discount from mobile users operating via the Apple Store or Google Play. Soon after, the game was taken off of both app stores, and the game was afoot.

Epic filed separate lawsuits against both companies, which Apple further followed up with a countersuit mere weeks before the first hearing on the 28th of September, 2020. Preliminary debate has been heatedly surrounding the role of Big Tech in establishing monopolies and forcing other apps to have no choice other than joining their ranks. However, it should be noted that both Apple and Epic Games chose to continue the trial without a jury, relying on judge hearings itself. A first court date has been set for the 3rd of May, 2021, with both companies actively preparing.

That very preparation is where Facebook steps in. At this point, it is no secret that the social network giant has no love for Apple, having engaged with the company in a bitter series of back-and-forth discourse over the latter’s iOS 14 app store policies. Facebook’s very own Vivek Sharma of the company’s gaming division is testifying in favor of Epic Games at the trial. In lieu of this, Apple requested over 17,000 documents relating to Vivek Sharma, as a possible method of outlining potential testimonials and counter-arguments. Facebook has, however, vehemently refused any such access, stating that Apple has had ample time and prior document access relating to both Facebook’s numbers and Mr. Sharma’s personal information. No further intercession has been noted yet, and this coin could flip either way.

Witnesses from Apple’s defense include the likes of top tier executives such as CEO Tim Cook, and Senior VP of Software Craig Federighi.

H/T: MR.

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