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Apple and Epic Games Save Over Returning Fortnite to the App Store

But by taking on Apple so directly and publicly, Epic – a 29-year-old $ 17.3 billion privately owned company based in Cary, NC – can be in the fight for its life. Apple has a market value of almost 2 trillion dollars and almost unlimited resources. Last month, it cut support for Epics Unreal Engine, a software development tool used by thousands of developers. That surprised the smaller company.

“We recognized the theoretical possibility in advance, but thought it would be so stupid of” Apple to cut off the Unreal Engine, “said Tim Sweeney, Epics’ founder and CEO, in an interview last week.

In court on Monday, Judge Gonzalez Rogers criticized Epic’s decision last month to break Apple’s payment rules. “There are a lot of people in public who consider you heroes for what you did, but it’s still not honest,” she said.

Epic argued that Fortnite’s removal from the App Store had caused it irreparable damage. But Judge Gonzales Rogers noted that Epic’s advertising campaign around the match, including a parody video of Apple’s famous “1984” ad and a hashtag, #FreeFortnite, had probably increased goodwill towards the company.

Epic’s attorney, Katherine B. Forrest, a partner in Cravath, Swaine & Moore, defended the advertising campaign.

“When you take on the biggest company in the world, and you know it’s going to catch up, you do not lie on the street and die,” she said. “You plan very carefully.”

Apple said it would only reintroduce Fortnite to the App Store if Epic complied with the rules.

“They do not need the help of this court – they have the keys to free Fortnite in their pocket,” said Apple lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a Gibson Dunn partner.

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