Apple Claps Back at Epic Games and Fortnite in Legal Filing After Ban
Apple has clapped back at Epic Games and Fortnite following the latter's ban from the App Store earlier this month. As you may know, the two megalithic companies are currently in a testy legal battle, which has featured Epic Games throwing shots at and trolling Apple via its social media channels and via Fortnite. So far, Apple hasn't said a great deal about the situation, but that changed in a new legal filing where Apple called out Epic Games for creating this mess, which it can only afford to make after Apple help make Fortnite what it is today.
For those not caught up: on August 14 Epic Games filed a lawsuit against not just Apple, but Google, claiming both were operating as monopolies and participating in anti-competitive behaviors. Of the two legal battles, the one between Apple and Epic Games has been given the most oxygen.
As for the reason behind the lawsuit, it comes down to money. The same day Epic Games implemented a direct payment system in Fortnite on iOS that circumvented Apple's system that takes a 30 percent fee off every interaction. It also did this on the Google Play Store. The result was Apple and Google kicking the game off each respective storefront.
As alluded to, Apple hasn't said a great about the situation so far, but today that changed when it officially responded in court.
"Over time, in part because of the opportunities Apple made available, Epic grew to a multi-billion dollar enterprise with large investors like the Chinese tech giant Tencent pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the company," said Apple. "Now, having decided that it would rather enjoy the benefits of the App Store without paying for them, Epic has breached its contracts with Apple, using its own customers and Apple's users as leverage."
Apple also responded to Epic Games seeking a temporary restraining order, which in turn would prevent Apple from removing the game from the digital storefront. Countering this, Apple noted this is an extreme request, especially because this is all Epic Game's fault.
"TROs exist to remedy irreparable harm, not easily reparable self-inflicted wounds," said Apple. "Here, Epic executed a carefully orchestrated, multi-faceted campaign, complete with a parody video, merchandise, hashtag, belligerent tweets and now a pre-packaged TRO. All of the injury Epic claims to itself, game players, and developers could have been avoided if Epic filed its lawsuit without breaching its agreements."
As for how this situation could be remedied, Apple notes it wants Epic Games and Fortnite back on the store, but without the system that circumvents Apple's cut.
"Apple clearly informs developers wishing to sell their apps through the App Store that if 'you attempt to cheat the system (for example, by trying to trick the review process, steal user data, copy another developer's work, manipulate ratings or App Store discovery) your apps will be removed from the store and you will be expelled from the Developer Program,' said Apple.
"If the App Store were a brick-and-mortar store, it would be obvious that Apple could choose which products to distribute, which customers to sell to, and on what terms. The antitrust laws cannot condemn Apple for following the terms and conditions in place since 2008 upon which it made its App Store available to Epic and other developers."
Epic Games has yet to officially respond.
H/T, Hollywood Reporter.