From the looks of it, the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit verdict is a lose-lose for both sides. Apple had to open the gates for alternate payment methods, and Epic Games was ordered to pay damages to Apple. While the verdict left both parties hurting, there’s more pain that Apple is bringing on to Epic Games now. The former has banned Fortnite from the App Store and refused to reinstate Epic’s developer license agreement.
As a result, Epic is no longer on the App Store, and it might remain this way for the coming years. The case is settled, but Epic Games is losing a lot here. Add Apple’s strictness to sideloading in the mix, and there’s no way Fortnite is making it back on iPhones unless Apple reverses the ban.
On September 22, Epic Games’ CEO & Founder, Tim Sweeney, took to Twitter, saying that Apple lied about welcoming Fortnite back to the App Store. He added that Apple abused its “monopoly power of over a billion users.” However, the court said that Apple is not monopolizing the market.
Epic’s case was built around a claim that Apple abuses its monopoly over the App Store by charging 30% commissions and not allowing alternate payment methods. To do this, the court has asked Apple to allow developers to include their payment methods within the app. In August, Apple started allowing developers to send emails and other communications to users, learning about the available alternative payment methods.
Apple has refused to let Epic back onto its App Store, banning it until the “district court’s judgment becomes final and non-appealable.” Looking into the letter, it would be safe to say that Sweeney invited this to Epic Games. It mentions that the court recognized Apple’s contractual right to ban Fortnite from the App Store. Apple’s letter also mentions that Epic committed an “intentional breach of contract and breach of trust.”
Lastly, Apple says that Tim Sweeney’s past statements are why it doesn’t trust Epic to bring back Fortnite to the App Store. Adding to all of this, it looks like Apple is right in banning Epic. However, there’s more to the story.
No Clean Slates
Apple agreed to let Fortnite back on the App Store if Epic decides to play by the rules. Since that statement, Apple has won the case against Epic, banned Epic Games from App Store, and sent a letter denying Epic’s developer license.
According to a press release issued by Epic Games, Apple’s claims are based on a “fabricated” quote. It also states that “Fortnite should not be blacklisted for challenging an agreement containing terms the court found to be unlawful.”
From Epic’s perspective, it “launched” a payment method to do something that needed to be done for a long time. However, Epic skips the part where Apple also vets the apps on the App Store to safeguard the users. We can agree there’s no clean slate for Apple or Epic Games after the verdict, but both companies need to understand each other’s position instead of adding new rebuttals.
Epic should acknowledge that bypassing Apple’s payment mechanism was not the best decision. Apple, too, should use the verdict as a fresh start and reinstate Fortnite since Epic is ready to comply with the terms and conditions. Ultimately, iOS-based Fortnite players are the ones paying the price for this ban.