Apple has filed for a counter lawsuit against its former rouge developer, Epic Games. The countersuit is asking the developer to pay for breach of contract damages after Apple had to remove the popular gaming app, Fortnite from its iOS App Store due to a controversial update released by Epic on the app.
The update in question is the ‘Epic direct payment’ update which allowed the developer to bypass Apple’s 30% cut from all in-app purchases made via the App Store and collect all revenue directly. Within a few hours of the update’s release, a string of counteractions from both sides resulted in a very public fall out and a series of lawsuits.
Now Apple is seeking payment for its damages from Epic, the court filing reads,
“Epic fired the first shot in this dispute, and its willful, brazen, and unlawful conduct cannot be left unchecked. 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.”
Apple’s Countersuit Against Epic Games
Although the company is severely criticized by many developers over its App Store’s 30% commission rate, Apple has strongly defended the commission by stating the services and tools it provides to the developers and protection to the users. Therefore, in the lawsuit, Apple mentions the lucrative sales Epic Games via Fortnite on iOS App Store.
“Epic’s lawsuit is 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. 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.”
The company listed the services Epic used over the years to promote and earn from the Fortnite iOS app. Here are a few benefits Epic enjoyed:
- 1 billion App Store customers in 175 countries.
- 400 of Apple’s unique Application Programming Interface (API) frameworks and classes (such as Metal), as well as five different versions of Apple’s Software Development Kit (SDK).
- The app was reviewed 200 times by Apple’s app reviewers.
- 140 updates.
- Free promotion, marketing and favorable tweets at the launch of every new season of Fortnite and in-app virtual concerts.
- 130 million downloads in 174 countries which earned Epic half a billion dollars.
“Epic’s intention is thus straightforward: It seeks free access to the Apple-provided tools that it uses and—worse yet—it wishes to then charge others for access to Apple’s intellectual property and technologies. This is not something that Apple is willing to create a special “side letter” for Epic to do so.”
A few days ago, Epic filed for a preliminary injunction at the U.S district court asking to prevent “irreparable” harm to Fortnite on iOS calling the iPhone maker a “monopolist” who is making Epic as an example for other developers to not to stand up to it. However, the developer is not putting up a strong argument on the legal and social front.
At the first court hearing, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that in Apple’s favor and called Epic’s “current predicament appears of its own making and Epic strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple.” At the time of the launch of Fortnite’s new season, the developer ignored Apple’s willingness to welcome Fortnite back on the App Store without the violating update and excluded the iOS version of the app from the new Fortnite season for which it received a lot of backlash.
From the users’ position, it looks like the two billion dollars companies will be locked in a legal battle for a long time. The only one to suffer in this conflict is the iOS users who are deprived of their favorite game.