Apple drops Epic’s Fortnite lawsuit, calling it an effort to revive “interest in the game”

Apple and Epic duels have been in California court since August.

Angela Lang / CNET

Fortnite is one of the most popular games ever made and will soon be one of the most important.

Apple on Thursday handed over its description of its sour relationship with Fortnite developer Epic Games to the U.S. District Court in California, where the two companies will negotiate at trial from next month. In its application, the technology giant claims that after earning more than $ 700 million in the two years since Fortnite was released on the iPhone App Store, Epic has devised a plan to earn even more – at Apple’s expense.

In describing the event, Apple outlined a media strategy called Project Liberty that Epic had reportedly planned with its lawyers and public relations firm for months in an attempt to draw more attention to Fortnite last year.

Last summer, Epic intentionally violated Apple’s App Store policies who insist that all digital products like Fortnite’s winning poses, dance moves, and new character looks be purchased through Apple’s payment processing service. Apple then removed Fortnite from its App Store for violating the rules. Epic responded by filing a lawsuit in August and launching an ad campaign that went viral on social media.

“Epic just wants to get rid of Apple’s innovation,” Apple said in its submission Thursday, arguing that Epic is using the lawsuit to “revive interest in Fortnite.”

An Epic spokeswoman declined to comment on the application, but noted that Epic has been pushing for fewer restrictions on Apple’s App Store since at least 2017. And in a competitive submission, Epic reiterated its earlier arguments that Apple’s App Store Route stifles innovation and its commissions on larger prices for consumers.

For many people, submissions are the latest turning point in the corporate fight for a slap between a company that has billions of dollars and a company that is worth a trillion dollars about who makes more money when a player spends money. But for Apple this represents an existential threat to the iOS software and tools that are built around his iPhone, one of the best-selling technology products ever.


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Apple’s success has been driven in part by the App Store, a service launched by Apple in 2008 that offers developers a way to build apps and games for special purposes and then market them through Apple’s centralized service. Apple takes a commission from up to 30% on digital items purchased through these applications, a business model that the company says is designed to make up for store running costs. The technical giant only allows people to download iPhone apps from their App Store, and any developer who disagrees with its terms is forced to create interactive websites instead.

Google has similar but less restrictive rules for its Play Store, requiring developers who publish apps on its service to pay commissions for selling digital goods. Google also allows users to “lateral load“apps from other app stores, effectively downloading competing platforms to their devices, which Apple doesn’t do. However, on the same day that Epic violated Apple’s app store rules, it did so with Google and was similarly kicked out of Google Play stores.Epic is also suing Google over Fortnite in a separate case.

In the 13 years since the Apple App Store was launched, it has helped the iPhone boost astronomical highs, with more than a billion phones in active use since January. During last year’s holiday season, which happened at the end of the year triggered by a global coronavirus pandemic and as a result economic disaster, the iPhone helped Apple set financial records. Its iPhone sales reached $ 65.6 billion, up 17% from a year earlier.

The lawsuit, Apple says, is an epic attempt to change iPhone’s business model. The company previously posted an email featuring Epic CEO Tim Sweeney asked Apple to allow alternative payment systems and download services, which would actually allow him to open his own app store on the iPhone. If the court forces such a change, industry observers say it could fundamentally change Apple’s business, disrupting not only its finances but also the security and reliability the company has built around its tight control.

“Apple is among the most innovative, competitive, dynamic and creative companies in the United States, and millions of people benefit from its products and services,” Apple said in a statement. “These products and services are the result of billions of dollars invested, in addition to significant time and thought, and represent Apple’s intellectual property.”

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Fortnite has become an internet phenomenon, in part because of its addictive gameplay and wacky characters.

Epic

By August 2020, Apple and Epic seemed to have a pretty good thing to do. Epic announced in 2018 that its popular game Fortnite will be available for free play on Apple’s iPhones and iPads. For the next two years, the companies played games more than a billion dollars selling casual looks and character moves. Then things unfolded when Epic tried to circumvent Apple’s payment rules, leading to a ban on Fortnite from the App Store and the now-upcoming antitrust trial.

Apple used its complaints to argue against Epic’s accusation that the iPhone and App Store rules are a monopoly. In its application, Apple reiterated earlier statements that it represents only a fraction of the phones used around the world and that many apps made for the iPhone can communicate with apps on other platforms. Apple also referred to an earlier ruling by the Supreme Court, writing that “antitrust laws” were passed to protect competition, not competitors. “

Epic claimed in its application that Apple’s arguments for its App Store, citing improved security and reliability, were a smokescreen for what constituted a business decision. “Apple could easily implement security features to support open distribution on iOS without restricting app distribution to the App Store,” the gaming company said in its submission.

The company also claimed that Apple’s ability to detect malicious applications was “limited,” based on a statement from Apple’s chief executive who oversees fraud detection engineering.

Epic also pointed to an internal case study that Apple did on a fake “virus scan” application. Apple’s application review team initially rejected a program that didn’t actually scan viruses twice, before eventually releasing it to the App Store. He then charged unsuspecting customers $ 99 a week through Apple’s payment processing system, which quickly ranked it as one of the best apps at the time.

“Apple’s restrictions on application distribution worsen the consumer and developer experience,” Epic added. Apple did not immediately comment on Epic’s arguments in its submission.

The Liberty Project

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Epic was launched by Apple with a PR campaign shortly after the lawsuit was filed, including the creation of this Fortnite character “Tart Tycoon” with an apple head.

Epic Games

Perhaps the biggest revelation of these two applications was Apple’s argument that Epic’s moves were carefully coordinated and designed to force Apple and Google to change the rules of the app store, or they look like bad guys.

Apple’s view of Project Liberty, as the plan was apparently called in Epic, is likely to include CEO emails as evidence, among other things. Apple is also planning for CEO Tim Cook to testify at trial, along with other senior Apple executives – whose sound will be streamed from the court on YouTube from May 3.

“Epic is asking this court to impose alternative terms on Apple so it can make more money,” Apple said in its submission. “But Epic’s request would harm other developers and consumers, by imposing unprecedented obligations on Apple to open its proprietary systems and engineering to third parties.”

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