Apple has finally submitted its legal response in court which includes the company’s email correspondence with the CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney. The content of the emails reveal that Sweeney wanted Apple to give Epic a “side deal” with a lower commission rate for all its gaming apps on the iOS App Store. In the court filing, Apple explained that the demands made by Epic’s CEO were in direct violation of App Store rules.
Although developers have been expressing dissatisfaction over Apple’s 30% revenue cut from in-app purchases, no one had ever taken a rebellious and extreme step like Epic has. When the iPhone maker banned Epic’s Fortnite app on iOS digital store for the direct payment update, the developer was ready with a lawsuit, and when Apple sent a termination notice to the developer of its developer account, again the developer was ready with a lawsuit.
Now for the first time, users are getting a behind the scenes glimpse of what really happened before the legal battle began.
Behind the scene Emails – Epic Vs. AppleBefore the release of the controversial August 14 direct payment update, Sweeney sent an email to top management at Apple on June 30 stating “Because of restrictions imposed by Apple, Epic is unable to provide consumers with certain features in our iOS apps.” He demanded for a competing payment method other than Apple payment and Epic Games Store app available through the iOS App Store.
In response, Apple’s legal team sent a detailed email highlighting that “Epic earns through other platforms like Android stores, PC, console and its own App Store. In 2019, Epic earned $1.8 billion in revenue which is seven times the $245 million earned via App Store for all Epic apps.”
On August 13, at 2 a.m. Sweeney emailed the top management of Apple again to inform them about the release of the new direct payment update on Fortnite app on iOS. He wrote,
“I’m writing to tell you that Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions. Today, Epic is launching Epic direct payments in Fortnite on iOS, offering customers the choice of paying in-app through Epic direct payments or through Apple payments, and passing on the savings of Epic direct payments to customers in the form of lower prices.”
And this release triggered the chain of unprecedented actions, starting from removal of Fortnite app from the App Store, Epic’s first lawsuit, company’s termination of Epic’s developer account and Epic’s second lawsuit against Apple.
Apple executive, Phil Schiller wrote in the company’s court filing that “Epic CEO Tim Sweeney asked for a “special deal with only Epic” that would “fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform.” In response, Sweeney refuted the claim on Twitter by sharing the email which asked “to make these options available to all iOS developers” in his tweet.
Apple's statement is misleading. You can read my email in Apple's filing, which is publicly available. I specifically said in Epic's request to the Apple execs, "We hope that Apple will also make these options equally available to all iOS developers…" https://t.co/yRio08fPSy pic.twitter.com/HsqjApFQeo
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 21, 2020
Read Apple’s court filing here.