Apple argues Epic’s lawsuit is ‘part of a marketing campaign’ to ‘reinvigorate interest in Fortnite’

    
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Apple argues Epic’s lawsuit is ‘part of a marketing campaign’ to ‘reinvigorate interest in Fortnite’

The Epic/Apple legal drama continues as this week Apple’s filed its response to Epic’s request to force Fortnite back on the Appstore, and you may want to pick up some extra popcorn and maybe some sunscreen because Apple’s lawyers have decided to bring some burns to this filing: They assert that Fortnite is basically flagging in popularity and that this whole debacle is Epic’s attempt to “reinvigorate” interest in the game.

“For reasons having nothing to do with Epic’s claims against Apple, Fortnite’s popularity is on the wane. By July 2020, interest in Fortnite had decreased by nearly 70% as compared to October 2019.12 This lawsuit (and the front-page headlines it has generated) appears to be part of a marketing campaign designed to reinvigorate interest in Fortnite.”

By way of evidence, Apple offers links to Yahoo Finance and Google Trends. The Google Trends compares search interest in Fortnite to Minecraft and Pokemon (we’ve previously written about using and misusing these trends), while the Yahoo article is largely positive toward Fortnite’s success and only mentions an unlinked survey that purports to “show [that] the gap between Fortnite and other free-to-play battle royale titles is starting to narrow” – or was back when the survey was conducted (the article itself is from way back in April; the lawsuit, of course, began in August).

We could probably do better than those just by poking through SuperData and looking at the game’s revenues; MOP readers will recall that in February 2020, Epic Games actually disputed SuperData’s claim that Fortnite’s revenue had sunk to its lowest levels since 2017. Just a month later, however, Fortnite returned to SuperData’s top revenue rankings, where it’s stayed throughout the pandemic.

Apple also invokes the same verbiage it did in the “Trojan horse” countersuit, this time calling Epic’s actions “one of the most egregious acts of sabotage that Apple has experienced with any developer.” As Engadget notes, there’s not much new here compared to the allegations in the countersuit last week, and the next hearing isn’t for another week and change, but it’s certainly entertaining watching Apple’s publicity stunt in which it claims to be offended by Epic’s publicity stunt.

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David Goodman

Most companies have in their contracts that they can end a relationship at any time for any reason (or even no reason.) My own company does for our customers as well. To my knowledge, that has never been challenged and nullified in any court (or else you wouldn’t still see it in the TOS of every video game ever produced.)

So whether or not the judge finds that Apple’s agreements are in violation of the antitrust act, THAT part I feel will still stand – so I think it’s going to be a hard stretch for Epic to convince the judge to force Apple to enter in an agreement with someone against it’s will.

Maybe IAP is different than app distribution as Epic says; maybe tying IAP and it’s 30% fee to the distribution is an unfair monopolistic use of it’s powers. (reminder: it’s not illegal to BE a monopoly, only that you didn’t BECOME one or retain it by unreasonable means). ) — but it’s still fair for Apple to choose who it has business dealings with.

Courts rule on things like the former (unreasonable monopolistic behavior). They do not, as a rule, decide what business dealings a company will be involved in.

If Epic does win this (and I still feel it’s an uphill case for them), then I don’t think it’s going to get them anywhere in the app store still. Sure, you can skip IAP — but we refuse to allow your game on our app store.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Hahaha. The ‘you are becoming irrelevant’ smear!

My theory is that Apple is right. (I don’t own a single Apple product and never have because no.) Epic didn’t take a big chunk out of Steam’s business, despite all the underhanded shenanigans. At least not enough to satisfy. Now they look around for somebody’s else’s money they can take.

And whoa, there’s Apple right there, sitting on a giant pot of money it doesn’t deserve! Let’s go get us some of that.

And while it makes for good movie fodder (little guy takes on big corporate meanie and ends up on top), there’s not a good guy here. Epic just wants more money for itself. They are the epitome of bad corporate actor looking to muscle in on other businesses.

That they are so huge and Apple is so huge kinda takes the sting out of it, but take all the externals away and what you have here is an unethical company breaking it’s contract with another company in order to siphon profits off for itself. Why, if that sounds like thievery, it is.

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Bruno Brito

Watching these two companies dick-fighting with soft organs is not fun anymore.

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rafael12104

Hmm. I think Uta is right. This getting stale. And I think it is going to get more ridiculous.

The PR campaigns on both sides are spinning up. We are one press release away from Epic blaming Apple for the Corona virus. And in response Apple will blame Epic for global warming.

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Rndomuser

I mean it is true that Epic games essentially cares about their own product like Fortnite and wants to promote it, however it still does not change the fact that Apple being extremely anti-consumer and anti-developer with their policy, even if their policy is technically fair since its their own software and hardware platform.

And this is not only for consumers and developers – I’ve been watching Louis Rossman’s YouTube channel, a person who repairs Apple’s hardware for living, and he also gave examples of Apple treating independent repair service providers like him pretty unfairly.

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silverlock

The great part about all this is that it helps distract Apple from Massachusetts question 1 right to repair bill which could end up costing them more then this law suit in the long run.

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Arktouros

Apple does a lot of other shit wrong for sure. Like other people were fond of bringing up sweat shops and of course right to repair is a big issue as well. They establish infuriating standards that end up impacting the market as a whole even across the parts of the industry they don’t control. Steve Jobs literally killed the Adobe Flash player. I’m still perpetually annoyed by the lack of a headphone jack in most phones because I hate wireless earphones and it was Apple who started that trend. The ridiculous non-standard cables they made that always broke.

However because they do other shit wrong doesn’t excuse taking them to task for basically anything.

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Rndomuser

No, it doesn’t but personally I would be glad if Apple would be forced to at least allow people to sideload apps with whatever payment method the app developer wants to have. That would be most fair decision towards everyone, including Apple who would still have a right to not host someone’s app on their own app store. I highly doubt that this will happen, though.

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Arktouros

Actually that decision would not be fair to Apple in that scenario. Apple has invested a tremendous amount of time, money and resources towards their product and platform under the basis that they get a 30% cut. All their development tools they let developers use for free is done so with the understanding that should that product make money they will get a cut of that money. WIthout the cut should they still give devs those tools? Can’t devs just agree then develop using their tools and then be like “Nah.” and break agreement? It also makes their jobs harder because now they have to account for things like side loaded malware onto their devices that couldn’t get there before. That will gobble up additional resources for what amounts to no real gain for them. To which again people can say “boohoo poor 2 Trillion Apple” and all that but it’s clearly a terrible deal for Apple and not how or why they designed their product in mind.

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Rndomuser

Ok, let me rephrase it so it would be more clear – this decision would be fair compared to other alternative such as Apple being forced to allow Epic to put apps on Apple’s own app store and to use any payment method within the app that developer wants to use even if that app is hosted in Apple’s own app store.

As for your argument about “Apple providing development tools for free” – Apple does not have to do that, they can provide xCode for a fee if it matters to them, this would be fair to anyone.

And your argument about “It also makes their jobs harder because now they have to account for things like side loaded malware onto their devices that couldn’t get there before” is pretty much a non-issue. They do NOT have to “account for it” if they provide an option which would prevent installation of third-party apps from websites by default and would require user to manually disable this option. As soon as user will manually disable the option and install third-party program from website – the user would be responsible for any consequences such as data loss or phone becoming inoperable. If anything, it actually allows an extra source of income for Apple because most Apple users who will infect their smartphones with malware will most likely bring their phones to Apple’s authorized repair centers, where recovery from such infection would cost users extra money because the issue was caused by users deliberately disabling such option and voiding their warranty related to the software and user data. It’s exactly how it works with Android smartphones right now.

In any case, any mobile OS should work exactly like desktop OS in terms of software development and distribution, by allowing users an OPTION of using either a proprietary app store by OS developer with whatever rules that OS developer wants to have for apps hosted by this store or by allowing users to side-load apps from third party sources such as third-party websites. I know that the mobile OS developer will receive less revenue by allowing such option but I believe this would be most fair option, especially for consumers and developers of third-party apps and games, the kind of people I care mostly about.

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Schmidt.Capela

Actually that decision would not be fair to Apple in that scenario.

I don’t see why not. If I purchased a device, I should be allowed to do with that device anything I want to, including running unauthorized applications on it. The most Apple should be allowed to do to prevent that is to revoke the software part of my warranty if I use unauthorized software in my device.

The dev tools are another thing entirely. Apple could restrict their tools to only devs who agree to only publish their iPhone apps on the App Store, and I think that would be fair — as long as Apple doesn’t prevent other devs from creating and using their own independent dev tools. Heck, there are fairly good unofficial development environments for all Nintendo consoles, which have a far smaller target audience than Apple devices; independent dev tools for iPhones would quickly appear.

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Schmidt.Capela

Steve Jobs literally killed the Adobe Flash player.

While the way it happened was pretty damning, I find the end result actually very positive; it helped in pushing web devs away from proprietary tech and towards open standards, which in turn forced browsers to actually bother implementing and optimizing those standards.

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Roger Christie

It doesn’t even matter than Flash was proprietary, Flash was a hideous blot on the landscape that was begging to be taken out.

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Roger Christie

Well truthfully, Jobs should be enshrined in history even if getting rid of Flash was his only accomplishment!

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EmberStar

To me, this whole thing feels like watching one of the knock-off Kaiju movies. Two giant monsters who I don’t care about are stomping around making loud noises and knocking down buildings, and any benefit to the tiny critters skittering around their feet trying not to get squished is entirely an accident.

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Dug From The Earth

in this battle between evil… and evil… i cant help but think of this when one of them makes a jab at the other

curtain1.jpg
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Sorenthaz

Obviously.

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Utakata

Wouldn’t it be nice (and boring) if these two robber baron entities sat down quietly and made up nicely together. You know, negotiate like civilized folks. Because the /popcorn for this drama is rather getting stale and tiresome, IMO.

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McGuffn

like how spain and portugal divided half the world between themselves!

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silverlock

And we all know how that worked out for the little guy.

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Bruno Brito

Don’t remember me. I’m still salty about it and it has been 500 years.

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Utakata

Sure, if they lived in that kind of vacuum. But no, they don’t really live in that kind of vacuum, though.

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traja

If it looks fit for headlines and easy to read for a layman it’s probably not meant to convince a judge. If you read introductions for high profile cases they tend to read this way, and then it gets really technical and boring after that. There is value in providing something for reporters.

The claim itself seems plausible. This move obviously ensures that Fortnite remains in the headlines for a long time as news from the lawsuits keep coming.