Apple bans Fortnite from App Store indefinitely as legal battle continues

Epic CEO condemns ‘extraordinary anticompetitive move by Apple’ in case that could take years

Apple has blacklisted Fortnite from the App Store until appeals in its legal battle with the game’s maker, Epic, are completed, Epic Games’ CEO, Tim Sweeney, said on Wednesday – a process that could take years.

On Twitter on Wednesday, Sweeney called out Apple’s move and said his company would continue to fight.

“This is another extraordinary anticompetitive move by Apple, demonstrating their power to reshape markets and choose winners and losers,” Sweeney said.

The two companies have been locked in a legal dispute since August last year when the game maker tried to get around Apple’s 30% fee on some in-app purchases on the App Store by launching its own in-app payment system. Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, accused Apple of running its App Store as a monopoly, exercising too much power over what apps are allowed and how they are run.

A US judge’s ruling in September struck down a core part of Apple’s App Store rules that prohibit developers from telling users about other places they can go to pay the developer directly, rather than using Apple’s payment mechanisms.

While the ruling was considered a partial victory for Epic, the judge stopped short of granting Epic some of its other wishes, such as forcing Apple to open the iPhone up to third-party app stores.

The judge ruled Epic failed to demonstrate Apple is an illegal monopolist, but did show the smartphone giant engaged in “anticompetitive conduct” under California laws.

Epic made clear at the time that it does not consider the decision a win, and that it plans to appeal.

Apple confirmed the authenticity of the letter that Sweeney shared, but declined to comment further. Apple has not yet said whether it will ask for the injunction to be paused pending the appeal process.

“Epic committed an intentional breach of contract, and breach of trust, by concealing code from Apple and making related misrepresentations and omissions,” the iPhone maker told Epic Games, according to the letter shared by Sweeney.

Developers have long criticized Apple’s commissions of between 15% and 30% on many App Store purchases, what some developers see as an opaque and unpredictable app-vetting process.

Guardian staff and agencies

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