Apple countersues Epic Games, seeks damages over ‘breach of contract’ in ongoing legal battle

It’s been quiet on the Epic Games/Fortnite front for a bit now, so we’re overdue for something new.

CNBC reports Apple has countersued Epic Games. As noted in the report, Apple is seeking damages in its countersuits, which Apple says it is owed over “breach of contract”. According to the filing, Apple says that Epic has earned over $600 million from the App Store and in-app purchases. Those purchases are tied to Fortnite, one of the most popular games on the planet.

Apple goes on to say that while Epic Games considers itself a Robin Hood, it’s actually a “multi-billion dollar enterprise”, adding that Epic simply “wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store”.

Epic’s lawsuit is nothing more than a basic disagreement over money,” Apple said in a filing with the District Court for the Northern District of California. “Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store.

As far as the amount that Apple is seeking in damages, that remains unclear at this time. However, it’s likely going to be a large sum. While Epic has obviously made money from Fortnite and its in-app purchases, that’s money Apple is missing out on, too.

Apple is asking the court to also permanently ban the external payment option Epic introduced back in August:

Apple is now going one step further, asking the court to hold Epic liable for breach of contract and other counts, seeking restitution of all money Fortnite collected through its payment system, and seeking a permanent injunction banning its external payment mechanism in all apps, including Fortnite.

As I mentioned above, things have gone relatively quiet on this front recently. The last major tidbit related to this news cycle was on August 28, when Apple terminated Epic Games’ App Store and developer accounts.

But, the timeline of events is below, which will catch you up on everything that happened in August and brought us here today to Apple’s countersuit.

The timeline

August 13, 2020

  • Epic Games updates Fortnite on the server-side, bypassing the App Store review process. It adds a direct payment option, breaking another rule in the process.
  • Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store due to Epic Games breaking the App Store rules.
  • Epic Games launches a media blitz, and it also sues Apple for anti-competitive behavior.
  • Epic launches “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”, a parody video of Apple’s original “1984” ad:

  • Google removes Fortnite from the Play Store, as Epic Games also violated the Play Store’s rules.
  • Epic sues Google, too.
  • Spotify weighs in! Unsurprisingly, it applauds Epic Games for its decision to stand up against Apple.

August 14, 2020

  • Facebook says Apple’s App Store fees make it impossible to help small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

August 17, 2020

  • Apple threatens to revoke Epic Games’ developer accounts for not only iOS, but also macOS. That cut-off is set to take place on Friday, August 28, 2020.

August 18, 2020

August 20, 2020

  • The Wall Street Journal and other news publications sign an open letter asking for Apple to reduce its App Store fees down to a standard 15%.

August 21, 2020

  • Epic Games promotes the #FreeFortnite Cup, or tournament, that is meant to bring even more attention against Apple, and is promoting “anti-Apple” prizes.
  • Epic sought special treatment for Fortnite before it declared war against Apple and the App Store’s guidelines.

August 24, 2020

  • Judge Gonzalez-Rogers rules that Apple does not need to reinstate Fortnite back into the App Store as the legal battle wages on. The judge also rules that Apple cannot revoke the Unreal Engine development tools, but it can still move forward with removing Epic’s developer account for iOS and macOS.
  • Apple says it agrees with the ruling made by Judge Gonzalez-Rogers, and is prepared to welcome Fortnite back onto iOS as soon as Epic Games is ready to follow the App Store guidelines.

August 26, 2020

  • Epic confirms that the new season of Fortnite, which is Marvel-themed, will not be available on iOS or Mac. Cross-platform functionality with those platforms is also removed.

August 28, 2020

What do you make of all this? Has it gone on long enough? Should Epic or Apple back down? Let us know in the comments.