Apple Inc. will not allow “Fortnite” to return to its ecosystem until all appeals of the landmark antitrust case between Epic Games Inc. and Apple are exhausted, Epic’s chief executive said Wednesday.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney posted letters from Apple
on his Twitter Inc.
profile Wednesday that showed the tech giant denying an attempt to restore Epic’s developer account. Sweeney posted a letter he said he sent to Apple last week requesting the account be restored in order to bring the popular game back to the Mac platform, and allow Epic developers to test and develop the version for iOS, though restoring the mobile version was not part of the request.
“Whether Epic chooses to bring Fortnite back to iOS consumers depends on whether and where Apple updates its guidelines to provide for a level playing field between Apple In-App Purchase and other methods of payment,” Sweeney wrote in the letter.
In the response Sweeney posted, Apple said it would not restore Epic’s access until all appeals are exhausted from the ruling issued earlier this month, which found that Apple was not a monopolist but told the company it must allow developers like Epic to steer customers to other payment options. Epic has appealed the ruling, and Apple has said it would appeal as well, moves that are likely to lead to years of court fights.
In the response Sweeney posted, Mark Perry noted that Sweeney had said after the ruling that Epic would not trade away the right to use its own alternate payment system in order to get back onto the Apple mobile platform.
“In light of this and other statements since the court’s decision, coupled with Epic’s duplicitous conduct in the past, Apple has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program account at this time,” Perry reportedly wrote. “Furthermore, Apple will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgment becomes final and nonappealable.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the letter was genuine. Epic declined to comment beyond the tweets.
Sweeney kicked off the contretemps between Epic and Apple more than a year ago by offering customers cheaper prices on goods and services within the popular multiplayer online game if they went through Epic’s own payments system, which Apple does not allow.
Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google
booted Fortnite from their respective app stores in response, leading to lawsuits against both. Epic’s lawsuit against Google is expected to begin in 2022.