The date is August 13, 2020. Epic Games releases an update for their insanely popular game Fortnite, which allows users to make in-app purchases via a direct payment to Epic, instead of paying via the App Store or Play Store, respectively. Why? Financial gains. The move would have allowed Epic to save some 30% per purchase, which is a huge amount of money, given how popular Fortnite had become.
Cupertino was quick to react and they pulled Fortnite from the App Store immediately. Google did the same on Android, and the game was gone.
It’s interesting to note that Epic released a parody video of Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial
for the Macintosh on the same day as a protest, urging gamers to support the company in a fight against the “monopoly” of Apple. Clearly, Epic was ready for this dispute, and they came prepared. Apple was taken to court, and there are hearings taking place in Australia.
Apple isn’t happy with that, and they want to take the case back to California, where a hearing is scheduled for May 3.
Apple’s barrister, Stephen Free SC said the fight was between “two Goliaths”, referring to Epic’s value ($17bn; 350 million account holders). Although we aren’t sure why he wants to paint Apple as a scary giant. Perhaps, his point is that Epic isn’t small by any means.
“You have a sophisticated commercial entity that sought and obtained access to Apple’s intellectual property and all of the benefits of access to Apple’s software and hardware, exploited that opportunity to great effect for many years, and the essence of the dispute … is that Epic wants to redefine the terms of access in quite fundamental and self-serving ways,” Free said.
“Epic wants to ignore its … contractual promise to litigate only in the northern district of California.”
What he is saying is that Epic’s move to dodge the App Store in-app purchase payment system would go against the quality, security, and privacy of the OS. On the other hand, Epic’s barrister, Neil Young QC (nothing to do with the musician), said that the competition laws in Australia aren’t supposed to be overridden by “private agreements and companies
”, referring to Apple’s purchase policy.
All in all, it is a messy dispute, but it is clear that both sides have a big financial interest, so they'll seek to achieve their respective goals. Until then, you can download Fortnite
for Android from Epic’s website, or directly from Samsung’s Galaxy Store
, as well as Huawei’s App Gallery