Apple Accuses Epic Games of 'Willful, Brazen, and Unlawful Conduct' in Countersuit Asking for Breach of Contract Damages
As Apple and Epic Games prepare for a hearing on a preliminary injunction to decide whether Fortnite will be allowed back on the App Store as the legal battle between the two companies plays out, Apple has filed a countersuit against Epic requesting damages for breach of contract.
In a court filing today, Apple says that Epic's lawsuit is "nothing more than a basic disagreement over money," highlighting the revenue that Epic Games has earned through the Fortnite iOS app and Apple's developer tools.
Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store. Epic's demands for special treatment and cries of "retaliation" cannot be reconciled with its flagrant breach of contract and its own business practices, as it rakes in billions by taking commissions on game developers' sales and charging consumers up to $99.99 for bundles of "V-Bucks."
For years, Epic took advantage of everything the App Store had to offer. It availed itself of the tools, technology, software, marketing opportunities, and customer reach that Apple provided so that it could bring games like Infinity Blade and Fortnite to Apple customers all over the world. It enjoyed the tremendous resources that Apple pours into its App Store to constantly innovate and create new opportunities for developers and experiences for customers, as well as to review and approve every app, keeping the App Store safe and secure for customers and developers alike.
Epic, says Apple, has used more than 400 of Apple's APIs and frameworks, five versions of the Apple SDK, has had its apps reviewed more than 200 times, and has pushed more than 140 updates to Apple customers. Apple says that it also provided advertising each time Epic released a new season for Fortnite, offering "free promotion and favorable tweets" to more than 500 million end users.
Apple goes on to explain the current Epic vs. Apple situation, and how Epic blindsided Apple with a "hotfix" to add the direct payment option and then the ensuing legal assault after Fortnite was pulled from the App Store.
Apple says that Epic's "willful, brazen, and unlawful conduct" can't be left unchecked, asking the court for damages and an order that prevents Epic from furthering its unfair business practices.
Neither Mr. Sweeney's self-righteous (and self-interested) demands nor the scale of Epic's business can justify Epic's deliberate contractual breaches, its tortious conduct, or its unfair business practices. This court should hold Epic to its contractual promises, award Apple compensatory and punitive damages, and enjoin Epic from engaging in further unfair business practices.
Apple also has a point-by-point rebuttal for all of Epic's claims, denying all allegations in the complaint. The full court filing is embedded below, and for a court document, it offers an interesting and comprehensive look into Apple's perspective on the whole Epic situation.
Epic over the weekend filed its documentation for the preliminary injunction, claiming that it challenged Apple because "it was the right thing to do" and that it was "better positioned than many other companies to weather the storm."
Epic has claimed that it will "suffer irreparable harm" if Fortnite is not allowed back in the App Store, but at the same time, Epic Games has refused to remove the direct payment option that's in violation of Apple's App Store policies. Epic wants the court to rule in its favor, allowing the app to stay in the store with the direct payment option that defies the rules, but that did not happen during the hearing for a temporary restraining order, and it's not clear if the court will rule differently after hearing new arguments from both Apple and Epic Games.
The preliminary injunction hearing is set to take place on Monday, September 28.