At issue is the 30% of revenue that Apple and Google take from all downloads on their app stores. Epic integrated a feature that enabled users to pay directly through its apps; as a result, Apple last month banned Fortnite from its Apple Store, saying the direct pay feature “was not reviewed or approved by Apple” and that Epic had “the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines.” Google soon after followed in removing it from its Google Play store that services Android devices.
Epic then sued both, citing the web giants’ “series of anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices” against its game, which counts about 350 million registers users worldwide.
Apple’s action, filed today in U.S. District Court Northern District of California (read it here), called Epic’s lawsuit “nothing more than a basic disagreement over money. 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.”
As part of a point-by-point refutation of Epic’s original claims, Apple also cited Fortnite’s growth as partially a product if its Apple Store relationship, saying that “by all accounts, Epic has taken advantage of Apple’s support and services more than any other app developer for the past two years.”
It added that with “Apple’s support, in the space of two short years, Fortnite grew into an incredibly successful iOS app, enjoying nearly 130 million downloads in 174 countries—and earning Epic more than half a billion dollars. As recently as April 2020, Epic executives recognized and thanked Apple for its support and promotion of Fortnite events.”
Apple is seeking a jury trial.
Most recently, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on August 25 denied Epic’s bid for an emergency order that sought to have the game restored to Apple’s App Store. She did support part of Epic’s argument but dismissed its claims of “irreparable harm” with regard to Fortnite, which launched its latest season August 27.
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