A week after the release of the latest chapter of Fortnite—which is not available on iOS or macOS because of the brawl between Epic Games and Apple—Epic Games is again asking the court to put its game back in the App Store. The developer claims it is being retaliated against for “daring to challenge Apple’s misconduct.”
In the preliminary injunction filed on Friday, Epic said that if the court did not take action, it would “likely to suffer irreparable harm.” It also also asking the court to force Apple to restore its developer account. Epic stated in the document that “the balance of harms tips sharply in Epic’s favor.” The preliminary injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
In a statement to Gizmodo, Epic called Apple a monopolist and accused it of trying to destroy its business.
“Apple is a monopolist and standing up to them is a necessary step to free consumers and developers from the unlawful restrictions Apple has imposed over app distribution and in-app payment processing on iOS,” Epic said. “For too long, developers have not spoken out because they fear Apple’s retaliation. The company’s recent actions show that if you challenge Apple’s monopoly, Apple will attempt to destroy your business.”
This isn’t the first time Epic has tried to get a judge to force Apple to leave Fortnite in the App Store. In late August, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that while Apple could kick Fortnite out of the App Store, it could not remove Epic’s Unreal Engine.
Gizmodo reached out to Apple for comment on the preliminary injunction filed on Friday. The company pointed us to its previous statements on the matter. In those statements, Apple said that Epic had agreed to its App Store terms and guidelines freely and that it had built a successful business on the App Store.
“The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store,” Apple said.
Regarding Epic’s developer account, Apple has said that it was disappointed that it had had to terminate it, highlighting that it had worked with the company for many years.
In case you’ve missed it, the brawl between Epic and Apple began in August when the video game developer decided to forgo Apple’s in-app purchasing system in its App Store and let users buy V bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency, directly from Epic. Players who bought from Epic would be able to get their V Bucks at a heavily discounted rate.
Under Apple’s system, which all app developers must agree to in order to get into the App Store, Apple gets a 30% cut of an app’s sales which includes in-game purchases. In addition, developers must also agree not to offer alternative methods of payment that go around Apple.
As you all probably already guessed, Apple did not take kindly to Epic blatantly breaking its rules. It promptly kicked Fortnite out of the App Store, which set off what was apparently a premeditated campaign that included a video disparaging Apple’s iconic 1984-themed Super Bowl commercial and an anti-trust lawsuit.
As a result, iOS and Mac users are currently without access to the latest version of Fortnite, although users that had already downloaded the game still have the option of playing the previous version. They can even play with other players, although they cannot make in-app purchases.
It’s unclear at the moment who will win this battle, although both sides are lawyered up and ready to go. Epic is not the only company that is cranky over Apple’s “Apple Store Tax,” and the practice is currently under investigation by the European Commission. Since new shows and movies are limited because of the global pandemic we’re living in, at least we still get to see a real-life soap opera between billionaires in the meantime.