Apple has responded to a lawsuit by Fortnite maker Epic Games that the tech giant’s practices are anticompetitive.
In its answer filed Friday (Aug. 21), Apple argued Epic Games violated Apple’s rules and should be prohibited from its store until the legal battle is resolved, CNBC reported.
The fight comes on the heels of Epic Games releasing a payment platform that was crafted to bypass the App Store’s payment system and its 30 percent commission.
In its filing, Apple alleged Epic Games wants special treatment and produced emails from Tim Sweeney, the game maker’s CEO, to prove it.
While Epic insists it is not seeking a special deal, in Friday’s filing, Apple wrote, “On June 30, 2020, Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney wrote my colleagues and me an email asking for a ‘side letter’ from Apple that would create a special deal for only Epic that would fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform,” the news outlet reported.
The idea was to get Apple’s approval for Epic to bypass in-app purchases and allow Fortnite players to pay it directly.
“Because of restrictions imposed by Apple, Epic is unable to provide consumers with certain features in our iOS apps,” Sweeney wrote in the email.
Not long after Epic Games provided gamers with a way to purchase digital items directly from the company at a discount, Apple removed Sweeney’s Fortnite app from its App Store alleging a rules violation.
The North Carolina game maker answered with a lawsuit accusing the tech company of being anti-competitive in how it controls the App Store.
“Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100 percent monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market,” Epic Games wrote in the legal filing.
Cutting out the middleman for access to its apps, and especially for the mega-popular Fortnite, which has 350 million users, will be closely watched, as will payment choice.
Epic seeks a restraining order that would return Fortnite to the App Store. A hearing on that order is scheduled for Monday (Aug 24) in the Northern District of California.
The Fortnite Team has invited gamers to play together just hours before the court hearing on Sunday (Aug. 23).
“Celebrate the quest for one more Victory Royale with friends across all platforms in the #FreeFortnite Cup this Sunday, August 23,” Epic Games wrote on its blog.