Apple will block Fortnite from the iOS App Store for as long as they can

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Following the ruling in the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit over in-app payment methods in Fortnite, Apple has now stated quite definitively that they will not reinstate Epic’s developer program account, and will not reconsider the matter until such a time that all of the possible appeals have run their course through the US courts. This, per Epic boss Tim Sweeney’s tweets on the matter, could take up to 5 years to occur.

It’s a sign that, while Epic won on one count in their court case against Apple, so that the App Store can no longer block developers from linking out to external websites, they lost resoundingly in all other counts. The ruling that was handed down meant that Apple could rightfully terminate Epic’s accounts for breach of contract… so that’s what they’ve done.

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This, however, flies against what the company has previously stated, that they would “welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else.” So, Epic chose to finally disable the V-bucks purchasing option in Fortnite, removing the system entirely instead of allowing for in-app purchases via Apple, and wrote to say that yes, they would now play by the rules and resubmit, so long as Apple allowed (as per the court order) for links and buttons to external websites and payment options.

The problem is that Apple can reasonably say that Epic is still an untrustworthy party. The court found that Epic willingly breached their contract with Apple – they admitted this openly – and so the termination of agreements by Apple was lawful. In the immediate aftermath of the ruling, Sweeney tweeted messages like “Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers.”

For some weird reason, Apple chose to take a rather different quote from Sweeney as justification, their specific reading into the statement being a bit of a stretch.

This very public falling out is sure to keep on rumbling for quite some time to come, but don’t expect to see Fortnite on iPhone or iPad for a very, very long time.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Apple finally show their true colours.

    • Aren’t Epic the ones acting like greedy idiots here?

      They were making lots of money, decided they wanted more, Apple said “No, you can’t do that. Stop it and we’ll let you back on the store”, and then Epic decided to take them to court. And mostly lost. And now it’ll be tied up in appeals for years, and people are surprised Apple won’t let them back while that’s all going on??

      There’s plenty of reasons to hate Apple, but not in this case, really.

      • Epic went about this is the most self-destructive way possible. They could have simply filed a suit, similar to the other anti-trust suits already in the courts, but they chose to deliberately break the contract for a publicity stunt. Then they could have rolled things back immediately while things went through the courts, but again chose to keep their customers hostage.

        Apple has turned heel and given mixed messaging on this one key point, but I think they also have genuine reason not to trust that Epic isn’t going to continue to try and undermine them at every turn, because they’ve repeatedly said that they would and keep making side demands. There’s seemingly an uneasy peace over Unreal Engine, but aside from that, there’s no good reason for Apple to want to work with Epic. It is, ultimately, still their shop.

  2. This is two shop owners having a spat. I don’t really see any issue with Apple’s shop not selling Epic’s product if Epic have tried to circumvent the till by selling their stuff out the backdoor.

    The thing seems to be that actually they do want to sell their product in Apple’s shop, and seem surprised that they’re not going to be allowed to.

    They’re both giant companies, and Epic are a long way from the image they’ve painted of themselves throughout this.

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