In the war between Epic Games and Apple, the tables have turned. The video game developer decided to implement its own payment method in ‘Fortnite’ and consequently Apple (also Google) withdrew the game from its store for breach of the rules. Epic Games immediately filed a lawsuit against Apple for alleged monopolistic practices by abusing its unique distribution of apps and games on iOS. Now the tables are turned, Apple itself has filed a counterclaim against Epic Games for damages.
There is still a long way to go before a solution is reached in the trial between Apple and Epic Games. At the moment the only thing that was clear is that Apple cannot remove Unreal Engine from its ecosystem, only remove the app from ‘Fortnite’ as ruled by a judge in a temporary resolution. While this is resolved, more lawsuits, accusations and conditions will be added by each of those involved.
In this case, it has been Apple that has officially filed a counterclaim. In it, she seeks compensation from Epic Games for the breach of her contract as a developer in the App Store.
Epic Games is not the “modern corporate Robin Hood,” says Apple
The lawsuit leaves some interesting statements regarding how they view Epic Games . For Apple, the image that it seeks to create that they are the ones who seek to defend small developers from the power of Apple, is wrong. They explain it with an analogy to Robin Hood:
“Although Epic presents itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, it is actually a multi-billion dollar company that just doesn’t want to pay anything for the tremendous value it gets from the App Store.”
Essentially what Apple seems to be asking is that Epic Games return the money it may have made with its illegal payment method (in the terms of the App Store) for purchases within ‘Fortnite’. That is, for purchases within ‘Fortnite’ that were made between the hours from when they activated the own payment method until the app was withdrawn. Apple, however, does not make it clear what the monetary amount is asking for it.
Apple describes Epic’s actions as a “sneaky assault” and its direct payment feature as “commission stealing functionality.” That is why he seeks the refund of that money entered with his own payment method. Also a permanent court order that prohibits your payment method in all apps, including ‘Fortnite’.
It will take months until there is a clear solution and we will hardly see ‘Fortnite’ again in the App Store. While Epic Games has asked in court to be allowed to operate the store again with its flagship game, the temporary order acknowledged to Apple that Epic had broken the rules. Whether or not those rules are fair is what will be resolved in the future. Third parties on the matter like Microsoft have begun to choose sides.