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This article was published on August 21, 2020

Apple rips into Epic Games in a court filing about the Fortnite saga

Apple rips into Epic Games in a court filing about the Fortnite saga
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

Grab your popcorn, everyone: there’s a new development in the Epic Games vs Apple legal battle over Fortnite. This time, it’s Apple slinging mud, in a new court filing in which it asks for Epic not to be granted its requested emergency restraining order.

The latest court document, which came to light today, contains Apple’s defense against both the injunction and the suit in general in a nutshell. Apple feels Epic has had the advantages of access the App Store within the boundaries Apple sets, but has now “decided that it would rather enjoy the benefits of the App Store without paying for them.” It also insists that Epic’s desire for the emergency injunction, which would stop Apple from cutting the other companies access to its (Apple’s) development tools, is trying to get the courts to fix something Epic itself caused:

[Temporary restraining orders] exist to remedy irreparable harm, not easily reparable self-inflicted wounds… All of the injury Epic claims to itself, game players, and developers could have been avoided if Epic filed its lawsuit without breaching its agreements. All of that alleged injury for which Epic improperly seeks emergency relief could disappear tomorrow if Epic cured its breach.

Apple said its stance on Epic’s circumvention of its payment method is akin to shoplifting: “If developers can avoid the digital checkout, it is the same as if a customer leaves an Apple retail store without paying for shoplifted products: Apple does not get paid.” Apple also adds it’s hardly alone in this regard, and cites that “Google’s Play Store, the Amazon Appstore, and the Microsoft Store, and many video game digital marketplaces, such as Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, and Steam” all have similar policies.

Apple even mentions that Epic’s recent catty move, in which it’s running a sort of anti-Apple Fortnite tournament to coax iOS players onto other platforms, belies that Apple’s alleged antitrust actions have harmed the game: “It conveniently ignores that Fortnite can be played on numerous platforms with or without support from Apple, even as Epic touts that fact in its advertising and communications to users.”

Honestly, I could pull quote after quote from all of these legal docs. I love the hell out of this passive aggression and these digs at each other. This is a legal battle between two very large, very rich companies arguing over who gets access to a giant pile of money. What can the plebeians like us do but laugh?

Originally Apple was maintaining the stance that this was something the two companies could sort out, and that it was willing to go to the table with Epic Games to sort this situation out. But its tone in the new court documents make it seem that Apple’s no longer so sanguine about resolving this issue — probably because Epic’s going all-in on their crusade.

In addition to court filing, Apple entered several emails as evidence. The emails, between Epic and Apple execs, are intended to shed light on how the fight got this far, and what both companies did. According to Apple, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney emailed the company more than once, asking for permission to put the payment option on the app. The emails are rather… un-cordial.

Whether you come down on Team Apple or Team Epic — or, hell, even if you don’t come down on either side — you have to admit it’s rather interesting to see the two companies go after each other. They’re not pulling their punches, and both obviously believe they have the ethical high ground, but eventually one of them is going to have to fold. Insert the gif of your choice here.

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