Epic has sued once again in its antitrust battle with Apple over the App Store, claiming that “Fortnite” should be reintroduced on the digital store front and protected from further retaliation, as the game already sees 60% of its iOS users go since the store’s takedown. .
The ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games over whether Apple should allow third-party payment processing and giving Epic its own digital store front has entered a new phase. Late Friday, Epic’s latest submission to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, spells out its arguments against Apple’s activity, as well as formally filing an injunction limiting Apple̵
Following the August 24 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who denied Epic’s proposal to force Apple to restore the game to the App Store, Epic’s latest attempt to get what it wants has resulted in another lengthy filing. Spread over 182 pages, archiving consists of a notice of motion, a proposal for a preliminary injunction, and several documents Epic believes support its case.
In its motion warning, which is supposed to apply to a virtual hearing set for September 80 over Zoom, Epic again accuses Apple of antitrust violations for its behavior by cutting off “Fortnite” from the App Store for using unauthorized payment mechanisms. In response, “Apple retaliated violently” by removing the game and threatening to cut off all Epic developer program accounts.
“In short, accused of antitrust violations of abuse of power to create and maintain two monopolies, Apple used the same power to try to force Epic to comply with its illegal restrictions,” the document said. “The court should not allow Apple to enforce these restrictions.”
In its justification for urging the court to make Apple repent of its actions, Epic states that it is “likely to succeed with the benefits”, pointing out Apple’s software platform control, which gives it “significant market power” over developers and consumers. That power strengthened it to design constraints to create and maintain monopolies in app distribution and payment processing in the app.
“Apple prohibits absolutely all competition in both markets, and leaves Apple free to impose distribution and processing conditions unchecked by competitiveness,” it continues. Epic then reiterates that instead of forcing Apple to offer distribution and processing services for free, Epic wants “the freedom not to use Apple’s App Store or IAP, and instead to use and offer competing services.”
The judge disagreed with Epic’s arguments during the emergency ban hearing.
The second point in the archive is the claim that Apple’s actions “without mandatory relief” will cause irreparable damage to Epic, as well as damage to countless third parties and the public interest. While Epic says it is “better positioned than many other companies to withstand the storm,” it also admits that it “is not immune to irreparable damage.”
As part of this so-called irreparable damage, Epic points out that “Fortnite” was used for an “intense social community”, and that removing the game from the store “split millions of users from their friends and family.” Epic claims that the user is screaming deafeningly, and claims that it is already suffering “real damage”, such as the decline of daily active users on iOS by 60% since removal.
There is also the claim of loss of “goodwill” and reputation damage to Epic, with users failing to move away from the game to other areas.
Apart from the loss of 60% of its daily active users, Epic also justifies that this affects the 63% of users who only access “Fortnite” via iOS and not other platforms. The iOS app is also said to have the largest audience on all the platforms “Fortnite” exists on, with over 116 million registered users who spend more than 2.86 billion hours in the app.
Meanwhile, the removal of the game also hinders “significantly a major epic initiative” to make the game a “full-fledged” metaverse, “a multifunctional, persistent, interactive virtual space.” The damage to the game “cannot be calculated in compensation,” Epic reckons.
The damage also threatens to affect the Unreal Engine, with Epic’s inability to update the software causing millions of developers to be “damaged”, including those who have to change course or end projects after significant investment. “Going forward, developers are questioning whether Unreal Engine will remain a viable platform to build their applications on.”
A third point continues the claim theme by declaring “the balance of harmful tips strongly in Epic’s favor”, with Epic losing significantly more than Apple, which “will for the most part lose some commissions from Epic.”
An alleged concern from Apple that each developer will follow Epic’s lead with direct payments is considered “speculative and unlikely”, as few will be able to “risk Apple’s anger” and will not have much incentive to do so.
Apple also stands for not losing much if Epic continued to use the tools for support while lawsuits are pending. Furthermore, Epic considers that Apple has not claimed that agreements for these tools between Apple and Epic were broken, as well as those between Epic and third parties who use the engine.
“Thus, Apple’s attacks on these other businesses are a complete retaliation to pressure Epic and deter others from challenging Apple’s anti – competitive behavior,” Epic concludes.
Epic also includes a proposed order that could be used by Judge Rogers as part of the September 28 hearing. Epic’s requested results include preventing Apple from making the game inaccessible, stopping further unwanted actions against Apple, preventing Apple from affecting the game code on user devices, and restoring the developer account.
The other documents in the archives are pro-epic exhibits from a variety of sources, including a document from the co-CEO of the Jevons Institute for Competition Law and Economics at University College London David S. Evans. At the request of Epic Games’ advice, Evans discusses how Apple has significant market power in an antitrust market for its App Store, and that there is “material demand” for alternative payment systems.
Statements in support of the proposal are also included from Epic Games’s engineering director Andrew Grant, vice president of engineering Nicholas Penwarden, and CEO Tim Sweeney. Several communication exhibitions between the companies each follow, with a selection of emails from clients complaining that the removal rounds off the list.