Epic Games is not backing out of a fight with Apple even as Fortnite stays out of the App Store. A day after saying that Apple had no right over “the fruit of Epic’s labour” in court filings, CEO Tim Sweeney took potshots at Apple on Twitter while replying to user comments about the ongoing court case. Apple had pulled Fortnite from the App Store in August after Epic Games had enabled the option for players to pay directly to the game developer for in-app purchases, in an attempt to bypass the 30 percent fee that Apple charges.
“What’s most disturbing about Apple’s position is that they seem to truly believe they ‘own’ all commerce involving phones they make, characterizing direct payment as theft, smuggling, and even shoplifting. It’s a crazy, misguided view,” Sweeney wrote on Twitter yesterday. In one of several replies to comments on his post, he said that just because Apple sold a phone does not give it the right to tax and control the person who bought the phone.
Apple banned Epic’s Fortnite developer account for “a minimum of 12 months”.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) October 25, 2020
Epic has been engaged in a fierce #FreeFortnite campaign against Google and Apple for what it describes is a fight against “anti-competitive restrictions on mobile device marketplace”. However, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers hearing its case against Apple did not grant an injunction that could allow Fortnite to be unblocked on App Store.
Apple has maintained that its action of removing Fortnite from its App Store was fair. The company recently said that its conduct was reasonable, its actions were undertaken in good faith to advance legitimate business interests, and that they had the effect of promoting, encouraging, and increasing competition. “Epic’s flagrant disregard for its contractual commitments and other misconduct has caused significant harm to Apple,” The Verge quoted from Apple’s court filings on Friday.
Lawyers representing Epic Games in the suit against Apple were quoted in a report by TechCrunch, saying that Epic had breached some of the contractual restrictions that Apple imposes on iOS developers because those were unlawful. “Epic chose to take a stand against Apple’s monopoly to illustrate that competition could exist on iOS, and that consumers would welcome and benefit from it. Epic did so without advance notice to Apple because Apple would otherwise have used its monopoly control to prevent that competition from happening,” the report quoted the lawyers as saying.
But Apple is not just on the wrong side of Epic Games these days. Facebook Games launched recently as a cloud service offering titles such as Asphalt 9 that boot up directly from the social network for Android users is not on iOS devices. Vice president of Play Jason Rubin tweeted yesterday saying that Apple had shot down multiple requests of approval of its iOS cloud concepts.
Apple claimed to offer us ‘helpful feedback’ in this story. Responding to multiple requests for approval of our iOS cloud concepts with “this fails under policy” is better than the radio silence we have experienced at times in the past, but that’s hardly ‘helpful feedback.’ https://t.co/UpIiCmI8OX
— Jason Rubin (@Jason_Rubin) October 26, 2020
While Apple has not issued a response to Ruben’s allegations of blocking Facebook Games from being used on iOS devices, Judge Rogers has reportedly recommended that a jury trial be held sometime in July 2021 to settle the civil lawsuit filed against it by Epic Games.
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