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Apple Counterpunches In Epic Lawsuit

Apple has fired back in its escalating legal stoush with Fortnite developer Epic Games, filing a countersuit to force Epic to remove the alternative payment method at the heart of the dispute from its app.

The iPhone manufacturer is also seeking damages for loss of fees, calling Epic’s conduct “wilful, brazen, and unlawful” in its latest court filing.

“Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multibillion-dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store,” said Apple.

Epic has claimed that Apple’s App Store, which charges a 30% commission on subscriptions and in-app purchases, is anti-competitive. In August, Fortnite was removed from the App Store after Epic added a direct payment option that bypassed this charge; while the game, and any updates, cannot now be downloaded on iOS devices, customers can still make use of this alternate method.

According to Apple, of the $140 million USD made through App Store sales in 2019, $116 million went straight to developers.

“Epic’s conduct actually interfered with Apple’s relationships with its consumers, in particular those who made purchases through Epic’s unauthorized external purchase mechanism, by depriving Apple of the economic benefit that it reasonably expected to receive from those relationships,” it said.

US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has blocked Apple from removing support for Epic’s Unreal Engine from the App Store. The next hearing in the case, Epic Games Inc. v. Apple Inc., 20-cv-05640, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland), is due on September 28.

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