Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022

Apple zegt dat het voorbeeld hier, dat het alternatieve betalingsschema van <em>Fortnite</em> on iOS, amounts to: "theft" by Epic Games.”/><figcaption class=

enlarge Apple says the example here and shows: Fortnite‘s alternative payment schedule on iOS amounts to “theft” by Epic Games.

Apple goes on the offensive in its ongoing legal battle with Epic Games over the iOS version of Fortnite† In a broad motion filed Tuesday afternoon, Apple defended itself against Epic’s legal charges, accusing the Fortnite maker of breach of contract and outright theft in a countersuit.

“While Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply won’t pay anything for the tremendous value it takes from the App Store,” Apple writes.

Who pays what?

In its own legal files, Epic seeks in part the right to provide what it calls “competitive payment processing on iOS” by bypassing the in-app purchase system built into the iOS App Store. Epic tried to do this unilaterally last month by adding a discount option for Epic Direct Payments to the iOS version of Fortnitea move that prompted Apple to ban Epic from the App Store entirely.

Besides being a breach of contract, Apple says in its motion that Epic’s addition of direct payments was a “Trojan horse” that amounts to “nothing more than theft”. Using a “hotfix” update method that was intentionally hidden from the usual App Store review process, Apple says Epic “tried to enjoy all the benefits of Apple’s iOS platform and related services while [lining] Epic’s going down at Apple’s expense.”

Later in the motion, Apple says Epic’s introduction of instant payments into the game is “theft, period.”

Epic has happily agreed to Apple’s contractual terms for access to iOS development since 2008, Apple writes, earning more than $600 million from App Store sales during that time. The fact that Epic no longer accepts that deal “does not provide coverage for Epic to breach binding contracts, defraud a longtime business partner, take commissions that rightfully belong to Apple, and then ask this court to take a judicial sledgehammer to one of the the most innovative business platforms of the 21st century simply because it doesn’t maximize Epic’s revenue,” Apple writes.

The 30 percent iOS sales commission that Epic tried to get around is much more than a simple payment processing fee, Apple adds. Instead, that fee reflects “the immense value of the App Store, which is greater than the sum of its parts and includes Apple’s technology, tools, app development and testing software, marketing efforts, platinum customer service, and distribution of developers’ apps and digital content.” That includes more than 150,000 APIs Apple has created to facilitate iOS development, the company writes, as well as the Metal Graphics API that Epic itself has praised in the past.

“The App Store is not a public utility,” Apple wrote in a July letter to Epic in response to Epic’s request. Epic has no right to “reap all the benefits that Apple and the App Store offer without having to pay a dime”. the company said.

No, you can’t have your own App Store

In its own recent filings, Epic says it “isn’t trying to force Apple to offer distribution and processing services for free, nor is Epic trying to enjoy Apple’s services without paying for them.”

Instead, Epic says it would like “the freedom not to use Apple’s App Store or IAP, and instead use and offer competing services” on Apple’s hardware, just as it can on Windows PCs. That’s not possible, though, because what Epic is saying is Apple’s monopolistic control of the market for all iOS software.

Apple directly says in its motion that it is “not a monopolist of a relevant market” and that “competition both inside and outside the App Store is fierce at every level: for devices, platforms and individual apps.” More than that, though, Apple says the requirement that all iOS purchases go through the App Store infrastructure is necessary to “ensure iOS apps meet Apple’s high standards of privacy, security, content and quality”.

Apple cites Epic’s own example on other platforms as proof of this necessity. When Epic started distributing the Android version of Fortnite independently in 2018, Apple writes that “sites immediately appeared that advertised not only for Android Fortnite but also distributed malware in the game.” Apple also cites security vulnerabilities in that independently distributed Android version as proof that its iOS protections are necessary.

“While Apple doesn’t leave it up to any developer to keep the iOS platform safe and secure, Epic in particular had shown that this kind of responsibility couldn’t be entrusted to it,” Apple writes.

In addition to compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract and other related violations, Apple is seeking a court order to prevent Epic from continuing to use its own third-party payment processing mechanism on existing copies of the iOS version of Fortnite or future apps.

List image by Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

By akfire1

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