Apple’s new countersuit decries Epic’s ‘subterfuge’ and ‘brazen’ rule-breaking with Fortnite ‘Trojan horse’


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.

Source: Counterclaim via The Verge. Cheers, Schlag!

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Jim Bergevin Jr

Tiresome? I find all this amusing as hell. In other news, I just saw an ad for a Jeff Foxworthy edition of Monopoly. But it’s a Walmart exclusive. I mean how dare they – the unmitigated gall! This is what is going to destroy the gaming industry. It’s soooo anti-consumer. Oh yeah, an absolute slap in the face, too! I’m boycotting both Walmart and Parker Brothers, and burning every edition of Monopoly I have in a great big bonfire in my backyard. That’ll show them good.

David Goodman

The first part of any legal filing is meant to be showy rhetoric for the news organizations to pick up and use as their quotes and pieces.

The majority of a lawsuit is boring, time-consuming and tedious to read through – this lets them generate headlines (Epic did it as well) for everyone to use so they don’t have to try to quote all of the parts of the suit.

It’s also an attempt to color the judge’s opinion one way or another — doesn’t always work, probably rarely since Judges know this kind of thing is done all the time — but you never know. It’s an intro, you can be flashy like that.


Apple is mostly presenting the case of what it offers for that 30%, why that’s valuable and that it’s all done as part of a single market/product (IE: IAP and the Store aren’t separate).

If you have something you’re trying to argue is valuable it makes sense to me that you would then go after someone for “stealing” that valuable thing especially when done so in such a backhanded way. Seems more like a lawyer decision, but a consistent message through and through.

The shot gun style defense (27 of them) was pretty hilarious to read through though.


This is basically the equivalent of a Xbox or PS4 game trying to dodge the review process to put in an update that lets them bypass giving cuts to the XBL or PSN marketplaces. It would never be allowed. When you put your product up on a platform, you have to adhere to the platform’s rules. Now sure Apple has a monopoly on their own product, but same goes for game consoles.

Guess it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out, but I almost wouldn’t be surprised if the longcon goal is to start arguing that consoles can’t monopolize their marketplaces either if Epic somehow wins against Apple.

Bryan Turner

Sounds almost like fraud, probably because it is.

ichi sakari

so much drama


Pretty much any contest with (cr)Apple on one side I’ll be rooting for the other guy, but much better entertainment than the game involved :)


“The pearl clutching is strong.”

…I would also used term: Oppression Olympics, for both “competitors” here. /le sigh

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Ashfyn Ninegold

While we in the peanut gallery try to parse out which of these unlikable behemoths to bet on, a court of law isn’t going to care who deserves what based on prejudices for or against either of them. Did Epic have a binding contract with Apple? Did Epic behave contrary to the contract? Did Epic attempt to circumvent the contract? Does Apple have the right to dictate the rules for use of its platform?

I dunno what legal questions will come up, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to be Is or Is not Tim Sweeney a twitter ass?

One thing is sure, though, going to court is a dangerous thing to do because you never know how it is going to come out.


While Tim’s self righteous attitude might not actually come up it certainly can be used against Epic.

For example Apple already used Tim Sweeney’s 2019 interview with Eurogamer where he was talking about how “[Epic] has a responsibility to moderate for a reasonable level of quality and a reasonable level of decency” which at the time Tim was using to take jabs at Steam which moderates nothing. Since Tim was trying to appeal to how better Epic’s store is for being curated/moderated compared to Steam, Apple can use that to make similar arguments of why it has it’s own policy of curating/moderating content on it’s own product as well.

This really undermines Epic’s argument that Apple’s desire for security, privacy etc is all “pretext” for forcing people through their store.


Don’t know if I’d call it ‘pearl clutching’, as the concept of a Trojan Horse is slipping in a malicious actor via an outwardly safe or inconspicuous method.

Falsifying the ‘hotfix’ as a way of putting in a payment system outside of the IOS market–with the sole intent of bypassing Apple entirely and giving them no other recourse but to expel Fortnite–sounds like a “Trojan Horse” to me. Just…

Rather than a bunch of barely dressed Gerard Butlers in plume helmets bursting out of the Wooden Horse in Slow-Motion to kick some clueless Trojan guard? It’s… Tim Sweeney in an awful and ill-fitting costume kicking his way out of a paper bag he had to moisten with a spray bottle from within… And… slapping… Tim Cook with…

with… I don’t know, what’s hip in Fortnite right now? I lost the plot on this one, but you get the point.