Epic Games CEO says Apple has ‘lost sight’ of the tech industry’s ‘founding principles’, says dispute isn’t about money

According to Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, Apple has lost sight of what’s really important in the tech industry.

As noted by MacRumors, Sweeney took to Twitter yesterday to comment on the report that Apple had countersued Epic Games. Apple is seeking damages over what it calls a “breach of contract” from Epic Games. Sweeney took umbrage with Apple’s wording in its countersuit, and called out the company for “losing sight” of the “founding principles” of the tech industry.

After that initial tweet, Sweeney didn’t slow down. In a thread, the chief executive of a multi-billion dollar company says that Apple is now the “all-powerful corporation dictating the terms of users’ access to their devices”. This is in reference to the “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite” ad Epic Games released immediately after declaring war on Apple’s App Store policies back in August. According to Sweeney, Apple unseated IBM back in the day, but now, in 2020, has become the thing the company apparently hated most all those years ago.

Sweeney goes further, adding that creators have rights, and that when someone buys a device it should be theirs to do what they want with it. Whether that’s alter the hardware, download whatever software they want, and so on. Sweeney says these products shouldn’t be “lorded over by some all-powerful corporation”.

Finally, Sweeney ended on a note about money. The CEO says that the rights of the creators and users is the “FOUNDATION” of the dispute with Apple. Meanwhile, money is “several layers removed”. Sweeney does also note that Epic Games is not seeking monetary damages (like Apple is), adding “We are fighting for change!” for good measure.

It’s worth noting here that Fortnite is still not available in the iOS App Store because Epic Games refuses to remove the third-party payment option it baked into the software back in August. That was the inciting incident for all of this, and while Apple has said it’s more than happy to let Fortnite back into the App Store, Epic Games has to follow the rules as they are right now to make that happen. Epic Games, up to this point, has refused to do so.

Still, this is about money. And selfish corporate interests. There is absolutely room for change with Apple’s App Store policies, but Epic Games has decided to go the hardline route. Which is only hurting customers.

In any event, the timeline of all things Epic Games vs Apple is just below.

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

September 8, 2020

September 9, 2020

  • Epic Games says Apple is going to disable the “Sign in with Apple” feature as soon as Friday, September 11.