Apple digs in on App Store battle with 'Fortnite' creator Epic Games: 'We won't make an exception for Epic'
- Last week, the wildly popular game "Fortnite" got an update on Apple and Android smartphones that allowed players to bypass Apple and Google's digital payment systems. Instead of Apple and Google, payments went directly to "Fortnite" studio Epic Games.
- In response, Apple and Google pulled "Fortnite" from their respective digital storefronts and cited the update as a terms of service violation. Epic Games sued both companies shortly thereafter for what it says is anticompetitive behavior.
- On Monday, the legal saga got more complicated: Epic filed for a temporary restraining order against Apple to keep the company from "removing, de-listing, refusing to list or otherwise making
unavailable the app 'Fortnite,' including any update thereof."
- Apple issued a response late on Monday night that places the blame on Epic, and digs in on the current policy. "We won't make an exception for Epic," the statement said, "because we don't think it's right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers."
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The legal battle between Apple and "Fortnite" maker Epic Games got another wrinkle this week: Epic Games filed a temporary restraining order against Apple with the intention of getting "Fortnite" back on Apple's App Store.
If granted by a judge, the restraining order would legally stop Apple from "removing, de-listing, refusing to list or otherwise making unavailable the app 'Fortnite,' including any update thereof."
"We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and their apps on the Store," a spokesperson told Business Insider. "The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers."
"Fortnite" was pulled from Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store late last week following an update issued by Epic that allowed users to bypass Apple and Google's digital payment systems. Instead of buying in-game virtual money ("V-bucks") through Apple or Google, players could buy them directly from Epic – at a 30% discount, no less.
The update, Apple and Google said, is a terms of service violation for any developer with an app on Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store.
"Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services," Apple said in a statement last week.
In response, the two main smartphone conglomerates pulled "Fortnite" from their respective digital storefronts. Epic Games, anticipating as much, filed suits against each company.Beyond "Fortnite," Epic also creates the Unreal Engine software suite – a set of software that's used to create games, including the smartphone versions of "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds." Epic will lose access to Apple's Developer Program by August 28, the company said, if "Fortnite" doesn't comply with App Store guidelines. This would mean that all of Epic's apps in the iOS App Store would be pulled from listing. Importantly, Epic says, getting booted from the program would also mean it can't access certain Apple technology for developers. Without access to Apple's developer technology, Epic says that it would be unable to issue updates to the Unreal Engine on iOS or Mac, which would, in turn, mean that any developer using the software to would be unable to update their own games to support the new versions of iOS and Mac OS coming this year.
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