Apple Vs Epic Games Court Battle Could Change Appstore
Fortnite creator Epic Games has launched a legal challenge in the US District Court in Northern California. Epic is ready to sue Apple on the same day that the Cupertino-based company removed the game from the App Store. In August 2020, Epic decided to offer discounts to its players when they bought items, using a purchase mechanism that circumvented Apple’s rules that the App Store had broken, according to the lawsuit.
The move comes as Apple faces increased antitrust scrutiny on Capitol Hill and coincides with the company’s efforts to disrupt developers through the App Store and the fees that go with it.
The company behind the hugely popular game Fortnite is suing Google and Apple to remove it from its App Store. Epic Games is seeking to force the game’s removal from the Apple App Store and its fees, claiming that Apple’s grip on the iOS market is inappropriate and unlawful. The lawsuit was filed less than a month after Apple removed Fortnite from its store after it introduced an in-app payment system that allows users to bypass Apple entirely.
Fortnite begins in federal court on Monday, and the lawsuit, which is being heard by US District Judge David Boies, stems from Epic’s decision to let gamers buy VBucks, a paid-up game currency, through other app store channels, circumventing Apple’s policy of taking a slice of the tech giant’s revenue. According to the lawsuit, Epic broke its agreement with Apple by allowing players of its mobile game to pay for downloads directly, rather than being bypassed by the App Store and its fee system.
It seems Epic is simply trying to bring Fortnite back to iPhones, with the study having the potential to finally open Apple’s walled garden platform. Game developers who create their apps with the Unreal Engine will be left brooding if Epic loses its access to the Apple ecosystem altogether.
The boss of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, has spoken out against a Goliath media company like Apple in the past month, sounding relatively calm. In an interview with CNN, Sweeney detailed the logistics of how they would fight Apple without taking too much financial risk for the company. Because Epic Game is so financially independent, and much of its revenue does not come from Apple’s App Store, it is likely to be able to absorb some of the costs of this litigation.
Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store and said it would no longer support Epic’s Unreal Engine. Epic then applied to a court in Oakland, California, to reinstate it and prevent Apple from taking action against it. The mixed verdict means Epic is likely to lose some revenue during the antitrust proceedings, but its customers need not worry that their games won’t work on Apple’s iOS and Mac platforms after Apple pulled technical support.
Epic could reintroduce Fortnite by making direct payments for modifications that caused the ban, though it is unclear whether Apple would allow it immediately or impose a waiting period.
The legal and PR battle pitting one of the gaming industry’s biggest players against the world’s most valuable company is the latest in a series of high-profile legal battles between the two companies. But the fight – which comes as Apple faces a $1.2 billion lawsuit from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) over its iPhone and iPad operating systems – also highlights questions about the iPhone giant’s power.
Epic Games is facing a tough legal battle against Apple Inc in an antitrust case that begins Monday. In its latest argument, which came before a court hearing on Monday, the company argued that Epic had no choice but to force its way back into Apple’s market by agreeing to play by the rules Apple has always set for developers. Apple is directly interfering in the debate over how massive technology companies should be regulated, legal experts say. Defeat for the maker of Fortnite could make it harder for US regulators pursuing a similar case against the iPhone maker to win or lose in a lawsuit. Epic – which has waged an aggressive public relations campaign against iOS and Apple in its lawsuits – may have already achieved an important goal.
Apple has largely managed to stay out of the regulatory crosshairs by arguing that the iPhone is a competitor to Google’s Android operating system, which dominates the smartphone world. But with more than 1 billion iPhone users, that argument is harder to sustain.