Another day, another pile of paper filed in the Epic Games v. Apple Inc. lawsuit. The latest is actually a counter-suit pressed by Apple against Epic, accusing Epic of essentially breaching its contract with the platform. Calling out Epic as pretending to be a “modern corporate Robin Hood” that used the App Store to make money (horrors!) for years and then launched a sullen “sneak assault” to… well, you need to see this yourself.
“When Apple rejected Epic’s request for a special deal, rather than abide by its long-running contractual agreements pursuant to which it has earned over $600 million, Epic resorted to self-help and subterfuge. On August 3, 2020, Epic sent a Trojan horse to the App Store—a new version of Fortnite that included what Epic has euphemistically described as a ‘hotfix’ that allows Epic to bypass Apple’s app review process and ability to collect commissions by directing app users to pay Epic instead, cutting Apple out entirely. Unbeknownst to Apple, Epic had been busy enlisting a legion of lawyers, publicists, and technicians to orchestrate a sneak assault on the App Store. Shortly after 2:00 a.m. on August 13, 2020, the morning on which Epic would activate its hidden commission-theft functionality, Mr. Sweeney again emailed Apple executives, declaring that ‘Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions.’ […] Hours after Mr. Sweeney’s 2:00 a.m. email, Epic triggered the ‘hotfix’ it previously planted in Fortnite to push through a new external payment runaround—which Epic had deliberately concealed from Apple’s app review process—that usurped Apple’s commission and brazenly flouted its rules. This was little more than theft. Epic sought to enjoy all of the benefits of Apple’s iOS platform and related services while its ‘hotfix’ lined Epic’s pockets at Apple’s expense.”
Yes, a Trojan horse. As MOP’s Chris put it, “The pearl clutching is strong.”
Apple ultimately alleges that Epic breached its license and contract, saying that monetary compensation would not be enough to address the “harms” posed to the “existence of the iOS ecosystem” (although it wants that restitution too, of course) and asking the court to “permanently enjoin Epic, and all persons and entities in active concert or participation with Epic, from facilitating, assisting, or participating in: (a) the continued operation of Epic’s unauthorized external payment mechanism in its apps, including Fortnite; (b) the introduction of any further unauthorized external payment mechanisms into any iOS apps, including Fortnite; and, (c) the removal of IAP as an available payment mechanism for in-app purchases through any iOS apps, including Fortnite.”
In any case, there’s nobody to cheer for here, just another step in what’s going to be a very long and tiresome showdown in the courts.