- Legal States
Jerome García August 23, 2020 3 min read
Apple Responds to Epic Games over Fortnite iOS Ban
Friday marked a new chapter in the legal argument between Epic Games and Apple over the removal of Fortnite from the App Store. Apple responded in court, claiming that Epic breached the rules of the App Store and allegedly asked for special conditions.
Apple Responds to Epic’s Lawsuit over the Removal of Fortnite from the App Store
The legal argument between Apple and Epic Games continues. Reported by the news outlet CNBC, Apple responded to the lawsuit of Epic Games over the removal of Fortnite from the App Store. As a response to the lawsuit, Apple accused Epic Games of violating the rules of the App Store. Furthermore, the company said that allegedly Epic Games sent three emails asking for special conditions. Earlier this month, Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted that the company did not seek a “special deal” but in the recent response to the lawsuit Apple rejects this statement.
Currently, the App Store is run by Apple’s Senior Vice President Phil Schiller. Here is what he declared in court: “On June 30, 2020, Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney wrote my colleagues and me an email asking for a ‘side letter’ from Apple that would create a special deal for only Epic that would fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform.”
Further to the court’s statement, Apple said that Epic was basically after introducing “a competing Epic Games Store app through the App Store that would allow iOS device users to install apps from Epic directly.” This would effectively bypass the payment processing which the App Store offers. Apple said that such change was never allowed and called for following the rules of the Apple platform which are beneficial for both developers and consumers.
Unapproved Payment Mechanism Led to the Ban of Fortnite
After that according to Schiller’s declaration in court, Epic Games revealed its intent to breach the agreement by writing to Apple: “Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions.” Then after 11 hours, Epic activated a payment mechanism that was not approved by Apple. This resulted in the ban of Fortnite from the Apple store on Thursday, August 13.
Here it is important to mention that the new Fortnite season is due to be released next week. With that in mind, Epic Games asked for the game to be temporarily reinstated in the App Store. However, Apple’s lawyers are rejecting this request. On this point, the recent court filing reads: “In the wake of its own voluntary actions, Epic now seeks emergency relief. But the ‘emergency’ is entirely of Epic’s own making.”
Another concerning point in this hurdle is the future of the Unreal Engine, which powers hundreds of apps used by many developers. While currently, Epic’s developer account is still active, there is no threat to the engine itself. For the moment, Apple only removed Fornite from the App Store and said that if the payment mechanism is removed, the game can return to the store.