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Apple fires back, claims Tim Sweeny “asked for a special deal” before lawsuit

The saga between the two tech giants continues to escalate by the day. Today, it was Apple’s turn to try and sink one of Epic Games’ battleships

If you haven’t been keeping up with the potentially historic lawsuit between Epic Games and Apple, now might be a good time to start. While we have a more detailed discussion here and a second update here, let’s recall the timeline once more:

  • Epic Games creates a direct payment line to curb the middleman (Apple)

  • Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store entirely

  • Epic Games files a lawsuit against Apple

  • Apple retaliates by removing Unreal Engine developer support

  • Epic Games files an emergency injunction to prevent Apple from moving forward with any plans until the lawsuit is settled

In essence, Epic Games was unhappy with the monopolistic practices conducted by Apple’s App Store. Other mobile devices (Samsung, Android) allow 3rd party application store support while Apple is the only distributor on the billion iOS devices

… And the sole app distributor for a billion devices (App Store) happens to mandate a 30% fee on all microtransactions, including VBucks

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Now that we’re all caught up, let’s dive into today’s developments: Apple’s legal response to the injunction

Apple formally submitted their argument for why Epic Games doesn’t deserve to continue operating in breach of their terms of service. Overall, Apple paints Epic Games as more malicious than they are letting off

A “carefully orchestrated, multi-faceted campaign” aimed at curbing the 30% distribution royalties, leveraging millions of Fortnite fans to tarnish the Apple brand in the process. At least that’s how Apple’s lawyers describe it

Source: CourtListener filings

Important details in Apple’s response

Tim Sweeny emailed Apple ahead of time with Epic Games’ plans to implement the direct payment system. “Around 2am on August 13, Mr. Sweeney of Epic wrote to Apple stating its intent to breach Epic’s agreements: ‘Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions.’”

The more recent development came after months of attempted negotiations from Epic Games’ end to agree to a more reasonable microtransaction fee. “Specifically, 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. In this email, Mr. Sweeney expressly acknowledged that his proposed changes would be in direct breach of multiple terms of the agreements between Epic and Apple,” the countermotion states

Epic’s motion and Apple’s countermotion are both over contention of the temporary restraining order, or TRO for short. If the judge grants Epic’s TRO, Apple will be forced to reinstate Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer accounts until the conclusion of the lawsuit

The temporary restraining order will be the court’s first ruling which will judge the merits of this lawsuit all together. A favorable result for either side could be telling as to how the entire lawsuit will turn out. Follow us on Twitter to keep up on all Apple vs Epic Games developments

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