Apple Fires Back Against Epic Games, and it Takes No Prisoners

Apple Fires Back Against Epic Games, and it Takes No Prisoners

Apple is not pleased.

pocru by pocru on Sep 09, 2020 @ 07:17 AM (Staff Bios)
Last we checked in on the Epic Games/Apple fight, Epic Games tried once again to get their famous Battle Royale title, Fortnite, back onto the iOS App Store by claiming that Apple was doing irrecoverable damage to their brand, and their future ambitions with the game, by not allowing iOS gamers the chance to play.

Today, Apple fired back, and it didn't mince words.

"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. Epic’s demands for special treatment and cries of 'retaliation' cannot be reconciled with its flagrant breach of contract and its own business practices, as it rakes in billions by taking commissions on game developers’ sales and charging consumers up to $99.99 for bundles of 'V-Bucks'."

Oh yeah. Shots fired. And it only got worse (or better) from there.

"For years, Epic took advantage of everything the App Store had to offer. It availed itself of the tools, technology, software, marketing opportunities, and customer reach that Apple provided so that it could bring games like Infinity Blade and Fortnite to Apple customers all over the world. It enjoyed the tremendous resources that Apple pours into its App Store to constantly innovate and create new opportunities for developers and experiences for customers, as well as to review and approve every app, keeping the App Store safe and secure for customers and developers alike...

...But sometime before June 2020, things changed. Epic decided that it would like to reap the benefits of the App Store without paying anything for them. Armed with the apparent view that Epic is too successful to play by the same rules as everyone else—and notwithstanding a public proclamation that Epic “w[ould] not accept special revenue sharing or payment terms just for ourselves”1—Epic CEO Tim Sweeney emailed Apple executives on June 30, 2020, requesting a “side letter” that would exempt Epic from its existing contractual obligations, including the App Store Review Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) that apply equally to all Apple developers. Among other things, Mr. Sweeney demanded a complete end-run around “Apple’s fees”—specifically, Epic wished to continue taking full advantage of the App Store while allowing consumers to pay Epic instead, leaving Apple to receive no payment whatsoever for the many services it provides developers and consumers. Mr. Sweeney also demanded the right to coopt the App Store to deliver “[a] competing Epic Games Store app,” in another bid to line Epic’s pockets at Apple’s expense and fundamentally change the way Apple has run its App Store business for over a decade on the iOS operating system for iPhones and iPads. Mr. Sweeney expressly acknowledged that his proposed changes would be in direct breach of multiple terms of the agreements between Epic and Apple. "

And it continues from there, accusing Epic Games of hosting a selfish and self-serving assault on the App store and Apple itself, trying to weaponize their players against Apple, and generally being huge dicks about the whole situation. They also push back on the idea that they have a monopoly on anything, that the fees they demand are exorbitant, and that Epic Games is being any kind of hero in this narrative.

And to be clear: Apple isn't a good guy either. Far from it. But it is refreshing for them to call this what it is: a tussle over rich dudes who want to get richer.

"While Epic and its CEO take issue with the terms on which Apple has since 2008 provided the App Store to all developers, this does not provide cover for Epic to breach binding contracts, dupe a long-time business partner, pocket commissions that rightfully belong to Apple, and then ask this Court to take a judicial sledgehammer to one of the 21st Century’s most innovative business platforms simply because it does not maximize Epic’s revenues."


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