Epic says in latest court document: Apple is a monopolist and a liar

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From the beginning of the current court battle between Fortnite game developer Epic and Apple, Epic has tried to get Judge Gonzalez Rogers to make a ruling that the terms and conditions that Apple forces app developers to follow are illegal. We are talking about the in-app payment system; Apple does not allow developers with apps listed in the App Store to give customers the option of using an in-app payment system other than Apple’s own. Apple takes a 30% cut of in-app payments that go through its own platform.

Epic has been trying to have the court call Apple a monopolist

Epic says that Apple is a monopolist in app distribution and in-app payment processing. Epic states in its court filing that “Apple does not dispute its complete control over app distribution to over a billion iOS users or over in-app payment processing, nor any of the restrictions that maintain that control. Yet Apple baldly asserts “it is no monopolist.” 

So when Epic gave those who had downloaded its popular Fortnite game from the App Store an option on-screen to make an in-app payment directly to the developer, Apple quickly kicked the game out of the App Store and stripped Epic of its iOS and macOS developer accounts. Epic has turned to the courts in order to get the judge to block Apple from taking the aforementioned actions against its game, its Unreal Engine game engine, and the developer itself.
On Friday, Epic filed a brief supporting its motion for a preliminary injunction against Apple. In the filing, Epic points out a number of “half-truths and outright falsities intended to paint Epic as a bad actor.” For example, Apple claims that Epic eliminated in-app payments from Fortnite. The developer says that this is false and stated that “This is false. Epic’s hotfix update offered IAP (In-app payment) and Epic direct pay side-by-side. IAP remained available in Fortnite until Apple blocked IAP upon termination of Epic’s Team ID ’84 account.”

Speaking of updates, Apple claims that Epic’s August 13th release has security risks that the developer has denied. Epic adds that Apple has not been able to show any evidence that these security risks exist. Epic also points out that Apple’s claim that Epic brought the legal action against it as a way to reignite declining interest in Fortnite is not true. Epic accuses Apple in the court document that “in pointing out an alleged 70% decline in Fortnite interest between October 2019 and July 2020, Apple cherry-picked Google Trends data concerning Google search volumes, misleadingly starting from a one-week spike that took place in October 2019 when Epic ran an in-game event that captured global attention.” During that period of time, Fortnite users actually increased according to the developer.

And while Apple says that Epic’s own app marketplace charges users and developers “a commission” based on in-app payments, Epic notes the difference between its store and the App Store. Developers can decide to use Epic’s payment processor for in-app purchases or it can use another payment processor and pay nothing to Epic. The latter option is one that developers don’t have in the Apple App Store.

Epic tells the court that it “looks forward to demonstrating at trial the unlawfulness of Apple’s conduct.” In the meantime, the developer says that the court should issue the requested injunction. Without the injunction, Epic says that it will suffer irreparable harm, an argument that Apple ignores by stating that the game developer is actually creating its own problems by offering the link to its own in-app payment platform. Apple is saying that the solution is in Epic’s hands. All it needs to do is remove that link to have Fortnite returned the App Store.

20-09-18 Epic Reply ISO Mot… by Florian Mueller

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