Epic Games and Apple are locked in a legal battle at the moment, with no end in sight. And earlier this year, Epic tried to broaden the scope of its action into the United Kingdom. However, it turns out that won’t be happening after all.
Back in January we reported that Epic Games had broadened its legal battle with Apple and Google to the UK. According to Epic, the move was to make sure that its fight for “fair digital platform practices” was heard not just in the United States, but beyond. However, a UK judge has ruled that Epic’s lawsuit against Apple shouldn’t be heard in the region.
Here’s how this breaks down. Apple Inc. is located in the United States. Meanwhile, Apple Ltd. is actually an English company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple Inc. So, this ruling actually decides that Epic Games can’t take legal action against Apple Inc. in the United Kingdom, because it’s out of the UK court’s jurisdiction.
Per 9to5Mac today:
In the Apple action (Case 1377), the application for permission to serve the proceedings on A1 out of the jurisdiction was refused.
However, things get more interesting in Epic Games coinciding legal action against Google. Judge Roth ruled in a decidedly more mixed way with that one. Specifically, the judged ruled that some action against Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) and Google LLC can move forward in the United Kingdom:
In the Google action (Case 1378), the application for permission to serve the proceedings on G1 and G2 out of the jurisdiction was granted for certain claims for breach of the Chapter I and Chapter II prohibitions under the CA 1998, and the injunctions claimed at paras (c), (d) and (h) of the prayer to the Claim Form. Permission was refused as regards the other claims made.
So, an interesting turn of events. Just to set the scene a bit, here’s what Epic Games released in a public statement back in January, after it had filed its lawsuit against Apple (and Google):
Epic Games has launched legal proceedings against Apple and Google in the United Kingdom, expanding its fight to advance fair digital platform practices for consumers and developers.
The legal proceedings, filed in London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal, allege the conduct of both Apple and Google in their respective app stores is an abuse of a dominant position and in breach of the UK’s competition laws, substantially reducing competition in app distribution and payment processes.
We believe that this is an important argument to make on behalf of consumers and developers in the UK and around the world who are impacted by Apple and Google’s misuse of market power. We look forward to making our case on January 21.
Epic is not seeking damages from Apple or Google in the UK, Australia or the US, it is simply seeking fair access and competition that will benefit all consumers.
And just below, you can find the timeline of events that brought us to today in the battle between Epic Games and Apple.
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 businessesimpacted 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
- Apple issues an official statement on the matter in response to Epic Games.
- Epic Games is revealed to have sought a coalition of “Apple critics” to help fight against Apple.
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
- Epic lets Fortnite players know in an email that it’s Apple’s fault they can’t play the new season of the game.
- Apple revokes Epic Games’ App Store and developer accounts.
September 8, 2020
- Apple countersues Epic Games in what it claims is a “breach of contract” related to its App Store practices.
September 9, 2020
- Epic Games says Apple is going to disable the “Sign in with Apple” feature as soon as Friday, September 11.
- Apple changes its mind regarding “Sign in with Apple”, allows existing customers to keep using it.
September 10, 2020
September 18, 2020
- Epic Games shuts down Fortnite: Save the World for Mac as of September 23.
September 24, 2020
- Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, and other companies create the “Coalition for App Fairness” to take on Apple’s and Google’s digital storefront policies.
September 28, 2020
- U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers says the public’s opinion regarding the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games should be considered, suggests a jury should be involved.
October 7, 2020
- Judge rules that the court battle between Apple and Epic Games will resume in May 2021.
November 5, 2020
- Fortnite returns to iOS thanks to GeForce Now game streaming service, and only available via Safari.
December 17, 2020
- Judge orders both Tim Cook and Craig Federighi to testify in the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games.
December 21, 2020
- Epic Games sends out “Free Fortnite” loot boxes to influencers, trying to drum up support
January 14, 2021
- Epic Games expands its legal battle with Apple and Google to the United Kingdom
February 1, 2021
- Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is ordered to sit through a 7-hour deposition
February 10, 2021
- Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney confirms that the company had been planning its lawsuit against Apple for months
February 19, 2021
- Apple subpoenas Valve Software in an effort to learn about the company’s Steam digital storefront, including revenue and more regarding over 30,000 games.