The legal fight between Apple and Epic Games has intensified this week after the iPhone maker filed a lawsuit against the creator of Fortnite, seeking damages for allegedly breaching its contract with the iOS App Store.
In a sweeping motion filed on 8 September, Apple accused Epic of charging others for access to Apple’s intellectual property and technologies by introducing a new in-app payment system within Fortnite that circumvented its 30% commission, as well as preparing a “smear campaign” against the company.
In the filing, the iPhone maker claimed the game developer earned over USD 600 million from the App Store, but Apple did not specify the amount in damages it was seeking.
“Epic’s flagrant disregard for its contractual commitments and other misconduct has caused significant harm to Apple. Left unchecked, Epic’s conduct threatens the very existence of the iOS ecosystem and its tremendous value to consumers,” Apple wrote in its filing.
“Epic’s lawsuit is nothing more than a basic disagreement over money. Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin hood, in reality, it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store,” Apple said.
Apple’s latest action puts the company on the offensive after Epic filed for a preliminary injunction against the Cupertino-based company to force it to bring Fortnite back to the App Store. In that filing, Epic argues that its reputation has been harmed. Epic claims that iOS is the biggest platform for Fortnite with 116 million registered users which is nearly a third of the total 350 million registered users that play the popular battle royale game.
That move came after Apple terminated Epic’s developer account in late August, effectively removing all of its other games including Infinity Blade and Shadow Complex Remastered. Those games are also no longer re-downloadable. Apple originally wanted to terminate the developer account of Epic International, a separate account linked to Epic’s Unreal Engine, but a judge issued a temporary restraining order barring Apple from doing so.
It should be said that Fortnite was also taken off the Google Play Store for the same violation it committed against Apple. Unlike iOS users, Android users are able to download and install the game through Epic’s official channels.
The next hearing in the legal dispute between Apple and Epic is scheduled for 28 September.