Apple accuses Epic of deceiving it in new court filing

Apple accuses Epic of deceiving it in new court filing
Earlier this week, we told you that Apple planned on closing Epic Games' developer account after the developer of Fortnite broke Apple's rules. Epic included a screen that allowed Fortnite players to make an in-app payment through Epic's own payment system. It isn't that Epic doesn't trust Apple to turn over the money, it's just that Apple takes a 30% cut of in-app payments processed through its own in-app payment system tied to the App Store. If game players use Epic's own system, Apple gets bupkis. So Fortnite has been removed from the App Store and Epic has until August 27th to straighten things out. If nothing changes, the following day Epic loses access to the iOS and Mac tools it needs to update the game.

Apple returns Epic's volley with its court filing

Epic filed court papers this past Monday, seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would allow Epic to return Fortnite to the App Store and keep its developer account until the court makes a final ruling. Epic also used the filing to call out Apple's anticompetitive behavior, something that both U.S.lawmakers and European regulators are looking at.

Today, Apple filed its response to Epic's suit. According to CNBC, Apple told the court that the game should not be allowed back in the App Store while the legal battle is taking place. In the filing, Apple said that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney sent three emails to the company seeking a special deal from the tech giant. Apple previously said that it would be willing to return Fortnite to its app storefront as long as Epic agreed to play by Apple's rules. Currently, those who have already installed the game on their device can play it but are not able to download updates. And iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users who have never installed the app can not do so at the moment.

In its filing, Apple presented a clear argument in response to the one made by the game developer at the beginning of the week. Apple stated, "For years, Epic took advantage of everything Apple’s App Store has to offer. It availed itself of the tools, technology, software, marketing opportunities, and worldwide customer reach that Apple provided so that it could bring its creativity to iOS and games like Infinity Blade and Fortnite to the App Store. It enjoyed the tremendous resources that Apple pours into the App Store to constantly innovate to 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.

Over time, in part because of the opportunities Apple made available, Epic grew to a multi-billion dollar enterprise with large investors like the Chinese tech giant Tencent pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the company. Now, having decided that it would rather enjoy the benefits of the App Store without paying for them, Epic has breached its contracts with Apple, using its own customers and Apple’s users as leverage. In the wake of its own voluntary actions, Epic now seeks emergency relief. But the "emergency" is entirely of Epic's own making. Epic's agreements with Apple expressly spell out that if an app developer violates the rules of the App Store or the license for development tools—both of which apply and are enforced equally to all developers large and small—Apple will stop working with that developer. Developers who work to deceive Apple, as Epic has done here, are terminated."

Epic CEO Sweeney disseminated a tweet today in which he denied that his company is seeking a special deal from Apple. Sweeney's tweet read, "Today, Apple said Epic is seeking a special deal, but that's not true. We're fighting for open platforms and policy changes equally benefiting all developers. And it'll be a hell of a fight!" While Epic says that it is seeking emergency relief, Apple points out that Epic created its own emergency which means that it should not be awarded the temporary restraining order that it seeks.

With Epic set to lose its developer account a week from today, we could see a ruling soon. You can look at Apple's court filing right here.
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