Epic Games once again is fighting back against allegations made by Apple that the game developer stole money from the tech giant by allowing gamers to purchase the amazingly popular Fortnite game through its own payment system. This allowed Epic to bypass Apple’s in-app payment platform that the latter takes a 30% cut from. In a new court filing made on Friday
, Epic pointedly said that Apple “has no rights to the fruits of Epic’s labor.”
Apple rattles off a number of reasons why Epic is the bad guy in this case
When Epic offered its own direct payment system, Apple tossed Fortnite out of the App Store and Epic filed a civil suit. charging Apple with monopolistic behavior. Apple also sought to cancel Epic’s developer accounts for iOS and macOS which would prevent Fortnite users in the App Store from receiving updates for the game or having the opportunity to purchase any new titles from the game developer. Losing these developer accounts would also kick Epic’s Unreal Engine game engine out of the App Store impacting other developers besides Epic. Earlier this month U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued an injunction that prevents Apple from removing the Unreal Engine from its iOS app storefront. However, the judge would not order Apple to return Fortnite to the App Store.
Apple claims that Epic was trying to use the advantages of the App Store while offering consumers its own payment platform
, on the other hand, seeks to collect some damages from Epic for breach of contract and the court filing includes counterclaims against Epic for “unjust enrichment” and “tortious interference” damaging Apple’s relationship with its customers. Apple notes that Epic’s lawsuit is nothing more than an argument over money and says that even though Epic likes to play the part of a modern-day Robin Hood, “in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store.” Apple points out that Epic took advantage of everything that the App Store offers including technology, marketing, customer reach, and more. In the two years that Fortnite was in the App Store, Apple says that it has used over 400 of its API frameworks, been reviewed over 200 times by Apple’s app reviewers, and pushed out more than 140 unique updates to Apple customers. And every time that a new season of the game launched, Apple promoted it by sending out tweets; it even put up a billboard in Times Square to promote an in-app concert for Fortnite.
Apple says that thanks to its support over two short years, Fortnite became a major success with 130 million downloads in 174 countries allowing Epic to put more than half a billion dollars in the bank. And while Apple’s comments make it sound as though it believes that Epic owes it a huge debt of gratitude, back in April the game developer did write a letter thanking the tech giant for its support and promotion of Fortnite events. But that changed just months later and Apple says that Epic suddenly wanted to take advantage of the benefits of an App Store listing without paying for them. The tech manufacturer received a letter from Epic CEO Tim Sweeney that demanded that Epic receive all of the advantages of being listed in the App Store while having consumers pay Epic directly instead of through Apple. Besides paying Apple nothing for Fortnite’s App Store listing, Epic wanted Apple’s blessing to launch a competitive app store of its own.
Apple claims that Epic used the ol’ Trojan Horse ruse to sneak in a link to Epic’s direct payment system at a lower price
On August 3rd, a new version of Fortnite was launched in the App Store that Apple says included hidden software allowing users to bypass Apple and make in-app purchases through Epic instead. And to prove that it is not a monopolist, the company says that there is fierce competition for devices, platforms, and apps. Fortnite users, says Apple, can spend their V-Bucks on no less than six different mobile, PC, and game consoles.
And that is where we stand now with Apple claiming that every action it took against Epic was for legitimate business purposes. Both sides argue that the other side is trying to take advantage of its hard work without making a payment. Apple says that Epic is using the tools offered to Fortnite from its App Store listing without paying Apple its 30% cut for that privilege. Epic says that “Apple’s repeated assertions of theft boil down to the extraordinary assertion that Epic’s collection of payments by players of Epic’s game, created from the work of Epic’s artists, designers, and engineers, is taking something that belongs to Apple.”
Judge Rogers says that the case should be heard in front of a jury next summer. Order your popcorn now!