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Apple calls for Epic’s Fortnite to play by the rules

Apple claims in a court filing that Epic has sought special permission to operate its shop in the App Store, and gives Fortnite a different payment option.

In a Friday filing, the electronics giant claimed that Apple’s claim to Epic Games, the firm behind a famous battle title of Fortnite, dates back to June. So Epic continued by calling for an arrangement to provide a fair app shop so payment system on iPhones, isolated from Apple’s.

Apple told Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, on Jun. 30, that it received an email demanding a “side letter” that would create a special deal for Epic to allow App Store to breach rules individual companies cannot. Sweeney admitted specifically that the plans for changes would breach several provisions of the Epic-Apple deals, according to the letter sent to the court by Phil Schiller, an Apple fellow and longtime director of global marketing. Mr. Sweeney acknowledged that, once the arrangements between Epic and Apple are changed, Epic will not enforce his plan.

“Apple has never allowed this,” Apple said in its filing. “We strongly believe these rules are vital to the health of the Apple platform and carry enormous benefits for both consumers and developers.”  What followed was an early morning letter from Sweeney to Apple on Aug. 13, following more emails between the two firms. He said that Epic is aiming to smash the rules of the App Store. A few hours later, in the Fortnite update, Epic set up a secret payments network in breach of the laws of Apple.

In the context, Epic discussed the negotiations between the two firms, until the technology in Fortnite had been enabled, allowing gamers to use their payment system instead of Apple. The iPhone maker responded by booting from the App Store, Fortnite, prompting Epic to sue. After then, iPhone and iPad users with Fortnite on their phones can still play, but nobody else can download the app anymore.

Apple claims Epic creates its issues and will head back to the App Store only after the problematic payment scheme has been disabled. Epic’s Sweeney says he’s in favor of all developers on the Apple platforms.

“We hope that Apple will reflect on its platform restrictions and begin to make historical changes that bring to the world’s billion iOS consumers the rights and freedoms enjoyed on the world’s leading open computing platforms including Windows and macOS,” Sweeney tweeted Friday, after Apple’s court filing.

It boils down to money — who has how much of it and why. In light of consumer concerns, Apple has kept up to 30% of the sales fee in iOS devices. According to the service, the fee is fair and in line with other businesses like Google and its Play Store charges. Yet big and medium businesses differ more and more. The regulators do have to look at the issue.


Related Issues Apple has been Involved in

Spotify filed a petition with the European Union concerning the Commission of Apple, which helped to bring an end to the App Store investigation, which had been revealed in June.

Authorities are now investigating Apple in the US, as well as by Capitol Hill lawmakers. During a July Congressional antitrust hearing, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked if his company treated developers equally and repressed them.

In a file to the court, Epic argued that Apple “retaliated ferociously” against Fortnite’s actions, threatening to deprive Epic of its software. Epic says external developers use its software for designing games through Unreal Engine would get hurt. Epic has argued before the court and in public that the unflexible laws of Apple are simply stifling innovation and affecting software developers too.

Epic argued in an initial complaint that Apple is greater, more dominant, more deeply founded, and worse than past monopolies. The scale and scope of Apple are much greater than any proprietary product in history.


How this all started

Fortnite is a free-to-play game that makes Epic money from online sales and is free to download. Players can buy in-game currency V-Bucks used to purchase new weapons, guns, and skins. The business model is incredibly competitive. In 2018 and 2019, $4.2 billion was earned by Fortnite.

Yet Epic never embraced the 30% cut that Apple and Google have taken on their respective game tales, so it developed a direct payment scheme that allowed players to purchase V-Bucks from Epic, bypassing Apple and Google for cheaper. Players had an option to pay 9.99 dollars through the App Store or 7.99 dollars by Epic while buying 1,000 V-Bucks.

Apple didn’t have it, so Fortnite was pulled from the App Store, and all this “drama” started.


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