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Apple abandons Epic’s Fortnite case, calling it an attempt to revive “signaling interest” in the game

Fortnite logo on the phone screen

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

Angela Lang / CNET

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

Apple presented on Thursday its description of its relationship with the developer of Fortnite Epic Games before the US District Court in California, where the two companies will deal in process from next month. In its registration, the technology giant claims that after making more than $ 700 million in the two years since Fortnite’s release on the iPhone App Store, Epic has drawn up a plan to do even more – and at the expense of Apple.

In a description of the events, Apple outlined a media strategy called Project Liberty, which Epic said it had planned with its lawyers and a public relations firm for months in an attempt to draw more attention to Fortnite last year.

Last summer, Epic has intentionally violated the rules of the Apple App Store which urge all digital products such as Fortnite’s winning poses, dance moves and new hero looks to 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 advertising campaign that went viral on social media.

“Epic just wants to take advantage of Apple’s innovations for free,” Apple said in a statement Thursday, arguing that Epic is using the lawsuit to “revive interest in Fortnite.”

An Epic spokesman declined to comment on the submission, but noted that Epic has argued 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 rules stifle innovation and that its commissions lead to higher prices for consumers.

For many people, requests are the latest turnaround in the corporate slap in the face between a multibillion-dollar company and a trillion-dollar company over who makes more money when a gamer spends money. But for Apple, that’s what it is an existential threat to the software and tools of iOS that is built around your iPhone, one of the the best-selling technology products to date.

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Apple’s success is due in part to the App Store, a service that Apple launched in 2008 and offers developers a way to create special-purpose applications and games and then market them through Apple’s centralized service. Apple takes a commission up to 30% for digital items purchased through these applications, a business model, according to the company, was created to offset costs of managing his store. The tech giant only allows people to download iPhone apps from its 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 “side load“apps from other app stores that effectively download competing platforms on their devices, something Apple doesn’t do. Yet on the same day, Epic violated Apple’s app store rules, did the same with Google, and was expelled from Google Play Store Epic is also suing Google for Fortnite in a separate case.

In the 13 years since the Apple App Store launched, it has helped the iPhone reach astronomical heights, with more than 1 billion headsets in active use by January. During last year’s holiday season, which occurred at the end of one year caused by the global coronavirus pandemic and as a result economic catastrophe, the iPhone helped Apple achieve financial records. Its iPhone sales alone reached $ 65.6 billion, up 17 percent from a year earlier.

The lawsuit, Apple says, is Epic’s attempt to change the iPhone’s business model. Earlier, the company published emails in which Epic CEO Tim Sweeney asked Apple to allow alternative payment systems and download serviceswhich would effectively allow him to create his own iPhone app store. If the court forces such a change, industry observers say it could fundamentally change Apple’s business, disrupting not only finances but also the security and reliability the company has built around its tight controls.

“Apple is one of 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 of investment, in addition to significant time and thought, and represent the intellectual property of Apple.”



Duel views

By August 2020, Apple and Epic looked pretty good. In 2018, Epic announced that the popular Fortnite game will be available for free to play on Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Over the next two years, the companies won more than $ 1 billion in sales of optional looks and moves for characters. Then things unfolded when Epic tried to circumvent Apple’s payment rules, which led to a ban on Fortnite from the App Store and an upcoming antitrust process.


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


Apple used parts of the documents to justify Epic’s accusation that the rules of the iPhone and App Store constitute a monopoly. In its statement, Apple reiterated earlier statements that it represents only a small fraction of the phones used worldwide and that many of the applications created for the iPhone can interact with applications on other platforms. Apple also cites an earlier Supreme Court ruling, saying that “antitrust laws were passed to protect competition, not competitors.”

Epic claims in its statement that Apple’s arguments for its App Store, citing improved security and reliability, are a smokescreen for what constitutes a business solution. “Apple can easily deploy security features to keep iOS open without restricting app distribution to the App Store,” the gaming company said in a statement.

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

Epic also cited an internal case study that Apple did for a fake “virus scan” application. Apple’s application review team initially rejected the program, which doesn’t actually scan for any viruses, twice before finally allowing it in the App Store. He then charged unsuspecting customers $ 99 a week through Apple’s payment processing system, quickly making it one of the most profitable applications at the time.

“Apple’s restrictions on the distribution of applications worsen the experience of users and developers,” added Epic. Apple did not immediately comment on Epic’s arguments in its submission.

Liberty project

The character of Fortnite

Epic operated Apple with a PR campaign shortly after the lawsuit was filed, including by creating this Fortnite character with an “Apple Tart” “Tart Tycoon.”

Epic games

Perhaps the biggest revelation of the two requests 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 the bad guys.

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

“Epic wants this court to impose alternative terms on Apple so that Epic can make more money,” Apple said in a statement. “But Epic’s request would hurt other developers and users, in addition to imposing an unprecedented obligation on Apple to open its own systems and engineering to third parties.”

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