Apple has removed Epic Games’ battle royale game Fortnite from the App Store after the developer bypassed the App Store’s own payments system. Epic wanted to seemingly bypass the 30 percent fee that Apple levies on in-app purchases and other App Store charges. A lawsuit has now been filed by Epic over the matter. Or as the internet put it, “Y’all fighting fighting”.
Epic seems a lot less amicable to a solution over the removal. The company has already filed a lawsuit that references Apple’s “Technical restrictions and anti-competitive conduct” that have led to a de facto monopoly for the computing giant. The suit also charges Apple with monopolizing its position within the ecosystem by leveraging fees on Apps.
Read the full filing from Epic.
This has been a long-running dispute between the two companies, as they have squabbled over App fees for some time. Though this is about much more than the controversial 30 percent cut for them and consumers. Apple has faced a ton of criticism for its policies regarding both hardware and software. The Apple computer business, in particular, has been a sore spot for many. The iron grip the company has on repair and warranty services for its own products has been extremely unhelpful for many consumers. Even getting as bad as well-known tech publications and outlets having trouble getting top-tier products repaired.
Apple has also been a constant opponent of the right-to-repair movement, all in a bid to control its own supply chain. Even going so far as to be hit with class-action lawsuits over the shoddy quality of both products, and the lack of substantive repair services. Just this year Apple settled a $500 million suit over batteries being intentionally sabotaged by patches to phones, which consumers alleged was part of Apple trying to force consumers to buy new products. And that’s just one recent example among many such problems.
Seeing Apple sued by Epic is a pretty major escalation, and depending on how this suit goes, it could have major implications for the future of the company.
The basis for the suit is heavily dependent on the Sherman Act, otherwise known as the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. If the suit moves forward, it will appear in higher US courts to be adjudicated on by a judge, who will likely rule on various elements. For Epic, this will likely be the awarding of damages and the proving of their claims against Apple. If successful—it could be disastrous for Apple—who may be subject to additional suits, if the precedent is proven correct, and the notion of them violating monopoly laws is valid. Apple will obviously contest the suit with all their might.
Apple said in a statement to The Verge that it plans to work with Epic to “resolve these violations” but that it has no intention to create a “special arrangement” for the company. Here’s the company’s statement in full:
Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the 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.
Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem – including its tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.
As of now, the game is gone from the Apple store for new users. Those who already had the game can still play it, for now. Users have tested various functions, including in-app purchases, and they seemingly all still work. It’s only a matter of time before Apple clamps down though, and these users are locked out as well.
Source: The Verge