Late on Friday, September 4th, Epic Games submitted its response to a judge’s earlier decision that stated Apple has the right to keep Fortnite off of the App Store. The judge says that Epic “strategically” violated App Store guidelines and hence has no basis for an argument based on the appeal to reinstate Fortnite to the App Store.
The same judge filed a temporary restraining order that prevents Apple from terminating the developer account used by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. On August 28th, Apple suspended the developer account by Epic Games itself to distribute Fortnite and numerous other games. The suspension also removed Epic’s access to developer tools, SDK’s and documentation.
In its latest filing, Epic is asking a judge to restrain Apple from “removing, de-listing, refusing to list or otherwise making unavailable the app Fortnite or any other app” made by Epic on the basis that Epic included a direct payment method on Fortnite. The motion also asks the judge to refrain Apple from suspending or taking “any adverse action against Epic” by terminating or suspending any developer account used by it, or its partners, also on the basis of the inclusion of a direct payment option.
Epic is also asking a judge to require Apple to restore its developer account, suspended on August 28th on the basis that “Epic is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims that Apple’s conduct violates the Sherman Act” and that Epic will suffer” irreparable harm,” in addition to the public “support” of an injunction.
In the 38-long page filing, Epic says that following Fortnite’s removal from the App Store, active users on the app for iOS have declined 60% attributing the decrease to a loss of “goodwill and irreparable damage to Epic’s reputation.” Per the court document:
By removing Fortnite from the App Store, Apple has cleaved millions of users from their friends and family in the Fortnite community, which entirely depends on connectivity. The user outcry has been deafening, showing real harm to the public interest. Daily active users on iOS have declined by over 60% since Fortnite’s removal from the App Store. And removal already has resulted in a loss of goodwill and irreparable damage to Epic’s reputation.Court
Epic also plays the “Apple by attacking us is attacking other developers” card by saying that Apple has “attacked Unreal Engine” used by other developers and that if Apple cuts Epic’s ability to update the engine, hundreds of developers would be harmed.
If Apple can cut off Epic’s ability to continue updating Unreal Engine for iOS and macOS, both Epic and the millions of developers using Unreal Engine would be harmed. Developers who have invested in creating projects for iOS and macOS would have to change course or simply end their work.Court
In what feels like a never-ending drama TV series, Apple has until September 15th to respond to Epic’s latest claims ahead of a hearing on the 28th.