Apple Terminating Epic Developer Accounts, Tools Access
The legal battle between Apple and Epic Games is taking another turn this week. Shortly after Fortnite was booted off the iOS App Store for circumventing Apple’s in-app purchase payment methods, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple for its 30% revenue cut. Now, Apple is revoking Epic Games’ access to iOS and Mac developer tools. Epic says that Apple has threatened to cut off its access to all iOS and Mac developer tools as retaliation for sneaking a new payment option into Fortnite last week a stunt that ended in the app being banned from the App Store and Epic filing a blockbuster antitrust lawsuit against Apple, claiming it places illegal restrictions on the distribution of iOS apps.
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020
This is a clear retaliation from Apple, going beyond just removing Fortnite from the App Store and attempting to block Epic Games from having anything to do with iOS whatsoever. In response, Epic Games has filed a motion with the US District Court of Northern California. Here is a quote from the preliminary statement of that motion:
“Just over two weeks ago, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was asked during a Congressional hearing whether Apple has ‘ever retaliated against or disadvantaged a developer who went public about their frustrations with the App Store’. Mr. Cook testified, ‘We do not retaliate or bully people. It’s strongly against our company culture’. But Apple has done just that. When Epic gave users of its app Fortnite a choice of how they wanted to make purchases, Apple retaliated by removing Fortnite from its App Store. Then when Epic sued Apple to break its monopoly on app stores and in-app payments, Apple retaliated ferociously. It told Epic that by August 28, Apple will cut off Epic’s access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple’s platforms—including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy”.
It’s hard to know exactly how damaging the move would be (the tools would still be available on Windows), but Epic paints it as grandiose and dire. “The cascading effect of losing ongoing Unreal Engine compatibility will threaten the viability of the engine and disrupt development of a constellation of apps and uses that rely on its graphics to render hundreds of video games, the human brain, Baby Yoda and space flight,” the company writes in the motion today.
At this point in time, Fortnite remains unavailable from the App Store, and barring court intervention or a decision to comply with the rules, all of Epic’s developer accounts will be terminated at the end of the month.