Apple is striking back against Epic Games in the latest development of the Fortnite feud by filing new papers seeking damages against the game developer for its breach in contract. In the tech company's defense, Epic did very publicly defy Apple's terms on the App Store by introducing a new payment method for in-game Fortnite currency that would rob Apple of its 30% cut of the profits.
Matters progressed very quickly following that initial event. Apple immediately pulled Fortnite from the App Store, prompting swift legal action from the developer, who accused Apple of perpetrating anti-competitive business practices and monopolizing the iOS space. At the same time, Epic took legal action against Google, who'd reacted similarly when Epic tried to introduce the new payment system on Android versions of Fortnite. Apple has been fighting back hard, striving to remove Epic's developer accounts from the App Store and even threatening the presence of Unreal Engine on the platform, though this was prevented by a judge. According to Apple, Epic is just another selfish corporation acting in its own best interest to try to get special treatment on the App Store.
But the tech giant isn't taking Epic's actions lying down. Even as it fights back against the developer's legal action, The Verge reports Apple has filed its own legal papers against Epic, claiming that the game developer's war is causing the company significant harm. Apple cites Epic's orchestrated assault against it and the elaborate campaign that was launched in Fortnite after the game's removal from the App Store, including an in-depth recreation of Apple's iconic 1984 computer ad and a series of in-game events directly mocking and deriding Apple. The company reiterated that both parties agreed to the terms laid out by Apple upon Fortnite's introduction to the mobile platform in 2018, and took great pains to point out how profitable Epic's presence on the app store was, highlighting how fruitful and mutually beneficial the two companies' relationship was. According to Apple, Epic's new conduct "threatens the very existence of the iOS ecosystem."
Everything Apple says is technically true, and it can't be denied that Epic did in fact breach the terms of its contract by offering the new payment system. It is also possible that Epic is acting in its own self-interest, and that the good of all mobile developers isn't truly what's on CEO Tim Sweeney's mind. But Epic isn't the only company who's spoken out against Apple's tight control of the iOS space. Even if, as Apple claims, Fortnite has thrived on the App Store, there remain a lot of game developers who struggle to find representation on iOS thanks to Apple's rules and regulations.
The Fortnite fight is a very complicated issue, and it clearly can't be called a straightforward fight between good and evil. Both sides have pretty significant flaws, but ultimately, Epic Games is raising strong points about a company that restricts and stifles innovation on its own App Store. Even if Epic is purely profit motivated, if it can make the mobile development space more accessible, it might just deserve the special treatment Apple thinks its lobbying for.