Epic pursued an antitrust lawsuit against Apple over its App Store policies and Apple has finally responded to the action taken. Apple has accused Epic of creating an ''emergency'' by accepting direct payments through Fortnite which violated the App Store's guidelines.
Apple executive Phill Schiller wrote in a declaration to the court that CEO of Epic, Tim Sweeney, asked Apple for a ''special deal'' with Epic to fundamentally change the way Epic offers apps on iOS platforms. The request was declined by Apple, after which Epic altered its policies and cut Apple out of in-app purchases. According to Apple, Epic's move has made the ban its own responsibility. Apple further stated that “Developers who work to deceive Apple, as Epic has done here, are terminated.”.
Apple further justified its in-app purchases policy by stating that developers avoiding digital checkout is equivalent to a customer leaving an Apple retail store without paying.
On the other hand, Sweeney called Apple's statement ''misleading'' and responded saying that in the email that he wrote to Apple, he initially requested that the Store exemptions be made available to all iOS developers. Sweeney also added a screenshot of the email in his tweet on Twitter.
Apple's statement is misleading. You can read my email in Apple's filing, which is publicly available. I specifically said in Epic's request to the Apple execs, "We hope that Apple will also make these options equally available to all iOS developers..." https://t.co/yRio08fPSy pic.twitter.com/HsqjApFQeo— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 21, 2020
Apple's response to Epic suing the company last week also consists of several emails exchanged between Sweeney, Schiller, and other company executives. The initial emails were from Epic where the company requested Apple to allow Epic to launch its own app store on iOS and include an alternative payment system in Fortnite and other games offered by Epic to bypass the App Store's 30% cut. Apple declined the request, saying that ''The App Store is not simply a marketplace — it is part of a larger bundle of tools, technologies and services that Apple makes available to developers.''.
Despite the refusal, Epic went through its plans and informed Apple of its change, saying ''We choose to follow this path in the firm belief that history and law are on our side.''. Sweeney also hinted at a legal attack in case Apple retaliated, which eventually happened as Apple banned Epic from the App Store.
Apple also took a stand against Google after the company kicked off Fortnite from its Android Play Store. Epic filed a suit against Google, accusing it of ''technological barriers'' that disadvantaged non-Play Store apps.
Meanwhile, Apple is facing an antitrust scrutiny in Congress as its CEO, Tim Cook, testified in a House Judiciary Committee hearing last month in which he was particularly questioned about Apple's App Store policies.
Apple argued in its filing that its App Store policies and practices are no different than those of console platforms like Sony's PlayStation or Microsoft's Xbox. The company further expressed its right to get paid.
Although Apple has been defending its iOS practices for years being the biggest tech company, its battle with Epic is one of its biggest challenges yet. The company is, however, focusing on convincing the court to let its ban stand as the case progresses.