Apple and Epic Games are gearing up for their second hearing scheduled for September 28, which will decide whether Fortnite will be restored back on the App Store. As the legal battle continues, Apple has filed a countersuit against Epic Games requesting damages for the breach of contract.
In the legal filing, Apple said Epic’s lawsuit is “nothing more than a basic disagreement over money,” referring to the revenue Epic has generated from the Fortnite app on iOS and from using Apple’s developer tools.
Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate 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. Epic’s demands for special treatment and cries of “retaliation” cannot be reconciled with its flagrant breach of contract and its own business practices, as it rakes in billions by taking commissions on game developers’ sales and charging consumers up to $99.99 for bundles of “V-Bucks.”
For years, Epic took advantage of everything the App Store had to offer. It availed itself of the tools, technology, software, marketing opportunities, and customer reach that Apple provided so that it could bring games like Infinity Blade and Fortnite to Apple customers all over the world. It enjoyed the tremendous resources that Apple pours into its App Store to constantly innovate and create new opportunities for developers and experiences for customers, as well as to review and approve every app, keeping the App Store safe and secure for customers and developers alike.
Apple goes on and talks about how Epic has used over 400 Apple APIs as well as frameworks, five versions of the Apple SDKs, along with having its apps reviewed over 200 times, and pushed more than 140 updates to Apple customers. The iPhone maker also mentioned how it has been advertising Epic Games each time on its new season release for Fortnite with “free promotion and favorable tweets” to over 500 million users.
Apple says that Epic’s “willful, brazen, and unlawful conduct” of applying a “hotfix” to Fortnite that added a direct payment option can’t be left unchecked. The Cupertino company requests the court for damages and an order that prevents Epic from promoting its one-sided business practices.
Neither Mr. Sweeney’s self-righteous (and self-interested) demands nor the scale of Epic’s business can justify Epic’s deliberate contractual breaches, its tortious conduct, or its unfair business practices. This court should hold Epic to its contractual promises, award Apple compensatory and punitive damages, and enjoin Epic from engaging in further unfair business practices.
From the plaintiff’s side, Epic claims Apple being a “monopolist” who maintains its ownership “explicitly prohibiting any competitive entry” to both app distribution and in-app payment processing markets.
In a recent lawsuit, Epic said it will suffer from “irreparable harm” if Fortnite is not restored back on the App Store. It also mentions the app removal from the App Store has caused a decline in users by 60 percent. During their first court hearing, judge ordered Apple not to take action against Epic’s Unreal Engine developer account, but it could terminate Epic’s Fortnite developer account. We’ll have to wait until the next hearing.