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Fortnite could be banned from iPhones for ‘years’, Epic Games boss reveals

CEO Tim Sweeney alleged that ‘Apple lied’ by refusing to reinstate Fortnite to the App Store following their legal battle

Adam Smith
Thursday 23 September 2021 16:12
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Fortnite will be banned from iPhones and iPads for years, according to a tweet by Epic Games chief executive Tim Sweeney.

It follows months of legal battle between the two companies after Epic implemented its own payment system in Fortnite, breaking Apple’s policies. Apple subsequently pulled the game from the App Store, resulting in a dispute in the courts over the fairness of Apple’s 30 per cent tax on all in-app purchases.

Mr Sweeney posted a tweet from lawyers representing Apple saying that “Apple has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program account” and “will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgement becomes final and nonappealable”.

Epic had appealed the ruling after it was ordered to pay Apple $6 million – 30 per cent of what it received from its alternative payment process – but Apple was “permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from including in their apps [ways to] direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing”, ruled judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

Epic’s appeal has not yet been accepted to be heard by the court, and Apple has said that it is still considering its own options for legal appeal. This could take up to five-years.

However, Mr Sweeney tweeted that “Apple lied”, alleging that the company would “’welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else’” but has now “reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users.”

Mr Sweeney also tweeted a letter he sent to Apple’s Phil Schiller, saying that the company would “adhere to Apple’s guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple’s platforms”.

It continued that, upon getting the account back, it would “bring Fortnite back to Mac as soon as possible” and that Fortnite for iOS devices would return “whether and where Apple updates its guidelines to provide for a level playing field between Apple In-App Purchase and other methods of payment”.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication.

Epic Games is also in a similar dispute with Google, as it implemented the same payment process on Android that got it kicked off Apple’s App Store.- and as such, Fortnite is not available on the Play Store, but is available through sideloading or other marketplaces such as the Samsung Galaxy Store (and then a dedicated Epic Games app)

Google said it would “welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play," but confirmed that Epic did violate a rule when it rolled out its alternative payment system.

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