Apple and Epic have been dueling in a California court since August.

Angela Lang / CNET

Fourteen days is one of the most popular games of all time and soon one of the most litigated will be.

Apple On Thursday, the U.S. District Court in California filed its description of its sour relationship with Fortnite developer Epic Games, where the two companies will compete against each other in a lawsuit until next month. In its filing, the tech giant argues that after more than $ 700 million in the two years since Fortnite was released on the iPhone In the App Store, Epic has devised a plan to do even more – at Apple’s expense.

In its description of the events, Apple outlined a media strategy called Project Liberty that Epic allegedly planned for months with its lawyers and public relations firm to draw more attention to Fortnite over the past year.

Last summer, Epic Intentionally violate Apple’s App Store policies They insist that all digital products such as Fortnite’s victory poses, dance moves and new looks for characters are purchased through Apple’s payment processing service. Apple then removed Fortnite from its app store for breaking the rules. Epic responded by filing a lawsuit in August and launch an advertising campaign that went viral on social media.

“Epic just wants to use Apple’s innovation,” Apple said in its filing on Thursday, arguing that Epic is using that legal action “to revive the dwindling interest in Fortnite”.

An Epic spokeswoman declined to comment on the filing, but noted that Epic has been advocating fewer restrictions on Apple’s App Store since at least 2017. In a competing filing, Epic reiterated its earlier arguments that Apple’s App Store rules hinder innovation and that commissions result in higher prices for consumers.

For many people, the filings are the latest twist in a corporate slap battle between a billion dollar company and a trillion dollar company that makes more money when a player spends money. For Apple, however, this means one existential threat to the iOS software and tools that created it to his iPhone, one of the Best selling tech products of all time.

Look at that:

The lawsuit against Epic vs. Apple will be brought to trial in 2021


Apple’s success was due in part to the Appstore, a service introduced by Apple in 2008 that gives developers the ability to create custom applications and games and then market them through Apple’s central service. Apple takes one Commission of up to 30% A business model is intended to balance the company in the case of digital items purchased through these apps Cost of running his business. The tech giant only allows users to download iPhone apps from its app store, and any developer who doesn’t agree to its terms will have to create interactive websites instead.

Google There are similar but less restrictive rules for the Play Store that require developers who publish apps on their service to pay commissions on the sale of digital goods. Google also allows users “Side load“Apps from other app stores that effectively download competing platforms onto their devices, which Apple doesn’t. On the same day that Epic broke Apple’s app store rules, it did the same with Google and was also kicked from the Google Play Store. Epic is also suing Google over Fortnite in a separate case.

In the 13 years since Apple’s App Store launched, this has helped push the iPhone to astronomical highs. More than 1 billion cell phones have been actively used since January. During the holiday season last year, which was at the end of the year plagued by the global coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic disasterThe iPhone helped Apple set financial records. IPhone sales alone were $ 65.6 billion, up 17% year over year.

The lawsuit, Apple says, is Epic’s attempt to change the iPhone’s business model. The company previously published emails in which Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has asked Apple to allow alternative payment systems and download servicesThis enabled him to effectively set up his own app store on the iPhone. If a court enforces such a change, industry observers could say it could fundamentally change Apple’s business and disrupt not only its finances, but also the security and reliability that the company has built due to its tight controls.

“Apple is one of the most innovative, competitive, dynamic and creative companies in the US, and millions of people benefit from its products and services,” Apple said in its filing. “The result of billions of dollars in investment, added time and thought, these products and services represent Apple’s intellectual property.”



Duel views

By August 2020, Apple and Epic seemed to have a pretty good thing. In 2018, Epic announced that its popular game Fortnite would be available for free on Apple’s iPhones and Apples iPads. In the next two years, the companies crept in More than $ 1 billion in revenue with optional looks and moves for characters. Things then dissolved when Epic tried to bypass Apple’s payment rules, which resulted in Fortnite being banned from the App Store and now an antitrust case pending.

Fortnite thumb

Fortnite has become an internet phenomenon, also because of its addicting gameplay and crazy characters.


Apple used parts of its filing to argue against Epic’s allegation that the iPhone and App Store rules are a monopoly. In its filing, Apple reiterated previous statements that it represents only a fraction of Telephones used worldwide and that many of the apps developed for the iPhone can interact with apps on other platforms. Apple also relied on an earlier Supreme Court ruling, stating that “antitrust laws” had been passed to protect competition, no competitors. ‘”

Epic argued in its filing that Apple’s case for its app store, citing improved security and reliability, is a smoke screen for a business decision. “Apple could easily implement security functions to support open distribution on iOS without restricting app distribution to the App Store,” the game company said in its filing.

The company also argued that Apple’s ability to detect malicious apps is “limited” based on a deposit made by an Apple manager overseeing the fraud detection technology.

Epic also referred to an internal case study Apple conducted on a fake “virus scanning” app. Apple’s app review team initially rejected the program, which wasn’t actually checking for viruses, twice before it was eventually added to the App Store. Unsuspecting customers were then billed $ 99 a week through Apple’s payment processing system, quickly making it one of the most successful apps of the time.

“Apple’s app distribution restrictions affect the consumer and developer experience,” added Epic.

Apple did not comment on the App Store study, but cited statements in its filing that said about 40% of submitted apps are rejected through the automated and manual review process that involves nearly 500 Apple employees around the world. It added that too outside of security companies have said little of the malware is on the internet geared towards Apple’s software.

Project freedom

Fortnites "Tart tycoon" character

Epic mocked Apple with a public relations campaign shortly after filing its lawsuit, including the creation of this Fortnite character “Tart Tycoon” with an apple head.

Epic games

Perhaps the biggest reveal of the two submissions was Apple’s argument that Epic’s steps were carefully coordinated and designed to force Apple and Google to either change or change their App Store rules Look like the bad guys.

Apple’s view of Project Liberty, as the plan was apparently called in Epic, will likely include executive emails as evidence, among other things. Apple also plans CEO Tim cook testify at the trialalong with other senior Apple executives whose audio will be streamed on YouTube by the court on May 3.

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

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