Apple Bans Fornite Indefinitely, Amid Ongoing Legal Battle

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CEO of Epic Games condemns ‘extraordinary anticompetitive move by Apple’ after it bans Fornite from App Store indefinitely

Apple has indefinitely blacklisted the Fortnite game from its App Store, until legal appeals are completed, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has alleged.

Sweeney made the claim in a series of tweets on Wednesday, pointing out that the appeal process can last as long as five years.

It comes after a US judge earlier this month ruled Apple must make major changes to its App Store, for the first time, allowing developers to send their users to alternative payment systems.

The judge ordered Apple to implement the ruling within 90 days.

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Court ruling

The ruling was essentially a partial victory for Epic Games, which had sued Apple as part of its efforts to avoid Apple’s 30 percent fee on some in-app purchases on the App Store, when it launched its own in-app payment system. .

The App Store requires apps to use Apple’s payment system, which levies a 30 percent fee in most cases – what critics call the “Apple tax”.

The US judge also 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.

However the judge stopped short of some of the other drastic changes sought by Epic, such as forcing Apple to open the iPhone up to third-party app stores.

Gonzalez Rogers also ruled that Epic had failed to demonstrate Apple was an illegal monopolist, but did show the smartphone giant engaged in “anticompetitive conduct” under California laws.

Epic is to appeal the rulings.

Sweeney allegations

In the meantime, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to announce the latest action Apple is taking against his firm.

“Apple lied,” alleged Sweeney in a tweet. “Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d ‘welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else’. Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users.”

“Just last week, Epic agreed with Apple that we would play by the same rules as everyone else,” he added.

But then he alleged Apple took action after Epic Games opted to pursue a legal appeal.

“Late last night, Apple informed Epic that Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a 5-year process,” tweeted Sweeney.

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

“It’s also a loss for fair competition and consumer choice,” he added.

Apple actions

Sweeney alleged that Apple changed its mind about allowing Epic Games and Fornite back into the App store, after Epic Games appealed the court decision and made statements about it.

Apple has already made a number of concessions.

In November 2020 Apple announced the new App Store commission will fall from 30 percent down to 15 percent for small developers and businesses earning up to $1 million per year.

And then Apple more recently agreed to allow small app developers to email their users about alternative purchase options to the App Store billing

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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