Return to Level1Techs.com

Epic vs Apple

I figured this is an interesting case, surprised no ones made a post.

There’s a lot to unpack but I figured anyone interested might be able to share the factual information that we can base discussion on?

Yesterday, in response to Epics file for a temporary restraining order, apple has laid out their defence of why an order should not be given.

Additionally with this the email exchange between Tim Sweeney (Epic) and Apple was released

The emails are quite interesting on a few levels, the main one being what Epic was asking for. Essentially to have their own store with the same access as the App Store, and to have their own payment provider

  1. Competing payment processing options other than Apple payments, without Apple’s fees, in Fortnite and other Epic Games software distributed through the iOS App Store;
  2. A competing Epic Games Store app available through the iOS App Store and through direct installation that has equal access to underlying operating system features for software installation and update as the iOS App Store itself has, including the ability to install and update software as seamlessly as the iOS App Store experience.

I know there were initially some stories about this simply being about fees, but that’s doesn’t appear to be Epics case here.

The email exchange is worth a read.


Here is the original filing by Epic


I’ve not yet added information about the main case, or about it being merged with another case (I believe?) If anyone has good information on this feed free to add to the topic or edit the post for discussion (I’ve made it a wiki)

6 Likes

Here is a rough timeline of events (summaried from macroumours detailed post here )

I have also made this a wiki post so it can be edited with out own timeline of events if we want to build on it. Feel free to edit


June 16

June 23

  • Sweeney tweets: “Opening iOS and Android up as truly open platforms with a genuinely level playing field between first party and third party apps and stores is the only way to ensure a competitive, healthy, and fair app economy.”

July 24

July 28

  • Sweeney tweets: “It pains me to complain about Apple in this way. Apple is one of the greatest companies that has ever existed, perhaps the greatest. But they’re fundamentally wrong in blocking competition and choice on devices they make, and that holds up entire fields of technological progress.”
  • Sweeney tweets: “This is a critical consideration in these 30% store fees. They come off the top, before funding any developer costs. As a result, Apple and Google make more profit from most developers’ games than the developers themselves. That is terribly unfair and exploitative.”

August 1

  • Sweeney tweets: “Apple’s intentional anti-competitive strategy has been running for much longer than most realize. Here they are in 2011 muscling Kindle purchases off of iPhone by demanding 30% of e-book revenue, ‘which we acknowledge is prohibitive for many things.’”

August 13

Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.

Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem - including its tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such 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.

  • Epic Games files a lawsuit [PDF] against Apple in California
  • Epic Games shares a video called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” parodying Apple’s iconic “1984” ad.
  • In a blog post, Epic Games encourages Fortnite players to fight against Apple’s “app tax” by using the hashtag #FreeFortnite on social platforms.
  • In an FAQ, Epic Games says that “all mobile developers and consumers have the right to choose alternate payment providers that charge less, as is the norm on all other general-purpose computing platforms, including Web, Windows, and Mac.”
  • Spotify sides with Epic Games.
  • Google removes Fortnite from the Play Store.
  • Epic Games files a similar anti-competitive lawsuit against Google.

August 14

  • Sweeney tweets: “At the most basic level, we’re fighting for the freedom of people who bought smartphones to install apps from sources of their choosing, the freedom for creators of apps to distribute them as they choose, and the freedom of both groups to do business directly.”

August 17

August 21

  • In a court filing, Apple said that Epic Games emailed the company on June 30 asking for a “special deal” that would allow its Epic Games Store app on iOS, sidestepping Apple’s in-app purchase mechanism.
3 Likes

I think 8ts pretty simple.
Apple: Here are our term of service.
Epic: We are going to break your terms of service.
Apple (and Google for that matter): You can’t use our service if you are breaking the terms of service.
Epic: look, they aren’t allowing us to break their terms of service…

I am kinda on apple’s side on this one…

6 Likes

Yeah. After briefly looking at the email exchange I feel like this case may be on Apples side. Im not sure the frankly somewhat odd behaviour of Tim Sweeney from Epic in the email exchange will help their case, and i’m not sure the public social media campaign will help their legal efforts either, and may even hinder them.

If nothing else, the injunction to let them back onto the store seems like its very unlikely to happen. They specifically and purposefully choose to break the terms of service and told Apple as much, knowing full well the consequences of doing so.

And Apple make good points, Epic do the exact same thing, and if you broke epics terms of service you’d get the same ramifications.

4 Likes

Go Tim. Push those buttons. He’s right about apples monopoly. They dictate who gets to play in their sandbox and don’t allow anyone else to have their own sandbox. At least on Android you can install other repos like Amazon has and the likes of Fdroid.

This is a step in the right direction.

6 Likes

It probably seems like odd behavior on the surface but I think there’s a long con here to push apple. I dig it.

4 Likes

Yeah, I found it really odd. Especially the email essentially saying fuck your terms.
I’d almost say maybe he’s trying to play a long game of public opinion, but that doesn’t matter in court. And as far as I can tell, all id see in court is a company CEO who purposefully broke the terms of a service they agreed to. So there is no case. (for the injunction)

It’s also possible his media and social media campaign may be used against him in court.

In the end it’s about money.
If they want 10 bucks for something, and apple want 30%, then set the price at 13 bucks.
It is ideal? Propably not. But it’s apples (or googles) ecosystem. If they don’t like it, then make your own phones and mobile operating systems.
With blackjack and hookers.
Or in this case, Fortnite.

3 Likes

I don’t think they ultimately care about the terms of the apple store itself but the lack of ability to create their own store. I see the long con being apple forced to allow installation of 3rd party repos like is possible on Android.

There’s more than meets the eye here for sure.

3 Likes

Also lets keep our mind open to what people are saying and discussing as well as the facts. Theres a court case and there’s what we think things should look like, and apple and epic are companies that both have their issues.

1 Like

In this case they are certainly moving towards their own ecosystem with blackjack and hookers, and this is the first step.

2 Likes

That’s always a struggle when debating this kinda stuff. If you want to change the rules that’s fine, but right now the rules are in place so we all need to abide by them. Breaking the Terms then suing likely wouldn’t be as effective as lobbying for anti-competitive bans via legislation

1 Like

Yeah, they don’t care, that’s what I got from it. They ultimately want free reign on the OS. (I actually think this lack of care may hinder them)

I can understand the pros and cons, but ultimately im not sure it will be successful. iOS was never built that way nor was it ever advertised that way, you know exactly what you sign up for.

I think as well that apples response to epic is actually quite well formed and has a fairly strong case to stand on.

Personally, honestly, I stand on the side that these are apples products and services and they can run them however they choose to. You don’t have to use Apple, and you don’t have to sell on iOS. Id say the exact same for any company or service, even Windows or Android.

If you take the game streaming for example which is a bit different from this case, which Apple currently doesn’t allow. I expect this will change naturally over the next couple of years to allowing these kind of services, but I don’t think Apple should be forced to do so by a government.

1 Like

I appreciate that Epic is trying to push Apple to open up the iOS ecosystem more, even tough one of the reasons why I like the app store is the fact that I can be quite certain the app I’m installing isn’t naughty.

So kudos to Epic for trying to push Apple. I just don’t agree the way they are trying to do it. Mainly how Sweeny tries to get the social media campaign behind him and use that as a weapon against Apple. There’s numerous examples how social media hate machine has managed to destroy, at least partially, the reputations of legit products and/or individuals. So if there’s smart guys like Sweeny who try to leverage that on purpose, sorry but I can’t give any sympathy to him on this matter.

tl;dr I appreciate what Epic tries to do here, I don’t agree the way they are trying to do it.

4 Likes

I think apple is 100% in the right from a legal stand point but they aren’t really fighting the anticompetitve legal battle yet, which is what I believe is coming.

This battle is lost for epic already, and I’m sure they know that. They’re going for the big brain 3d chess play I think. It makes more sense to me than the face value.

2 Likes

I don’t know what other way they could do it.

3 Likes

Charge 30% more for IAP while building their own phone company that’s better than Apple?

I don’t really see their end goal with their tactic though? Appeal to teenage fans? They have no money. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out in court, but the social media attack strategy generally isn’t seen very favourably by courts and puts your business in a bad light with other businesses.

It be good to hear what you think the 3d chess move is? Because I don’t see it :smile:

Oh no, Walmart have a monopoly in their stores. Let’s open our own cashier that doesn’t give money to Walmart…
No, I’m kinda on Walmart side…

1 Like

Epic is brute forcing their platform into existence. The play here is the platform. Obviously I don’t know what the plans are since Im not Sweeney. The end goal is similar to Amazon’s platform I think. How they get there is yet to be seen.

3 Likes

I’m not sure that analogy works here.

4 Likes