Apple has blacklisted Fortnite from the iPhone maker’s popular App Store for several years until all the court appeals are done, Epic Games Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney said on Wednesday. Epic Games’ opening brief in its appeal to the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is due December 12, according to a court filing and Apple’s reply is due by Jan. 20, 2022. The full appeal process could take years.
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. pic.twitter.com/QCD7wogJef
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 22, 2021
“This is another extraordinary anticompetitive move by Apple, demonstrating their power to reshape markets and choose winners and losers,” Sweeney said on Twitter.
The two companies have been locked in a legal dispute since August last year when the game maker tried to get around Apple’s 30 percent fee on some in-app purchases on the App Store by launching its own in-app payment system.
The US tech giant is facing a raft of other legal and regulatory challenges to rules it forces game makers to follow, including the closely watched antitrust lawsuit brought by Epic Games.
Apple confirmed the authenticity of the letter that Sweeney shared, but declined to comment further. Apple has not yet said whether it will ask for the injunction to be paused pending the appeal process.
“Epic committed an intentional breach of contract, and breach of trust, by concealing code from Apple and making related misrepresentations and omissions,” the iPhone maker told Epic Games, according to the letter shared by Sweeney.
Developers have long criticised Apple’s commissions of between 15 percent and 30 percent on many App Store purchases, what some developers see as an opaque and unpredictable app-vetting process.
Earlier this month, a US federal judge struck down some of Apple’s App Store rules, forcing the company to allow developers to send their users to other payment systems in a partial win for Epic Games and other app makers.
Apple’s shares were up 1.3 percent at $145.26 (roughly Rs. 10,710 crores) on Wednesday.
© Thomson Reuters 2021