Apple wants to stay tough in the “Fortnite” dispute

In 2019, visitors to the Gamescom game fair will be at the Facebook Gaming booth to play the game “Fortnite”. Photo: Andrea Warnecke / dpa-tmn / dpa (Image: dpa)
(Photo: Andrea Warnecke / dpa-tmn / dpa)

Cupertino – Apple fears that its app store business will crumble if the iPhone company lets the makers of the popular online game “Fortnite” get away with their violation of the platform’s rules.

If the behavior of the game company Epic Games were tolerated, “it would show all developers that they can ignore the obligations they entered into with their contracts with Apple,” said corporate manager Phil Schiller in a statement in the court proceedings with the “Fortnite” provider on Friday. This could shake the entire business model and ecosystem of the App Store.

Epic no longer wanted to adhere to the requirement that virtual items in the game on iPhones and iPads can only be offered through Apple’s in-app purchases system, where Apple withholds 30 percent of the purchase price. According to emails published by Apple, Epic boss Tim Sweeney first asked Apple to allow this in late June.

After the company refused, the developers added the option to buy the item directly from Epic. According to Apple, a hidden functionality was activated in the application that Epic had smuggled past the group’s app reviewers. On the same day, Apple threw “Fortnite” with reference to the rule violation from the App Store. Users who already have the app on their devices can continue to use it – and also buy the items for less directly from Epic.

Apple explains that the requirement to use the in-app purchase system is intended to protect consumers. Epic sued Apple on charges of unfair competition.

The iPhone group also threw the «Fortnite» company out of its developer program, which will hinder the future development of the graphics technology Unreal Engine from Epic for iPhones and iPads. This could have far-reaching consequences for the industry because Unreal Engine is also used by other apps – which could switch to competing products. Epic wants to prevent the expulsion from the developer program with an injunction. Apple countered on Friday that there was no basis for an injunction because Epic had got itself into trouble with a breach of contract.

Epic also placed the alternative purchase route in the Android app from “Fortnite”, then flew from Google’s Play Store download platform and also sued the Internet group. However, apps can also be loaded from other sources on Android smartphones.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200814-99-162384 / 5

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