Apple responded to Epic’s requests for the iPhone maker to restore Fortnite to the App Store in new legal documents, arguing that the company’s injuries are “entirely self-inflicted” and that Fortnite can go back to iOS at any time, as soon as Epic removes the custom in-app payment system that triggered the removal of the game in the first place.
“Epic started a fire and poured gasoline on it, and is now asking this court for emergency assistance to shut it down,” Apple writes in its 37-page opposition note. “[E]although Epic can do it on its own in an instant by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have profitably governed its relationship with Apple for years. ”
Subsequently, the company adds: “Epic could have avoided further damage involving both of them Fortnite and Unreal Engine, at the push of a button. “He claims that by refusing to do so, Epic” is holding its customers hostage to gain leverage in a trade dispute. “
This is not a new topic from Apple. Ever since he kicked Fortnite out of the App Store in August, the iPhone maker was clear he would be happy to return to status quo. But these documents offer more detail on the legal arguments Apple will draw on in its response to Epic’s request for a preliminary injunction and restoration of Fortnite to iOS users. A full hearing to decide that the matter is scheduled for September 28th.
Throughout the store, Apple reiterates its main argument: that the company provides a valuable service by maintaining the App Store and that by bypassing the store’s rules, Epic has broken its contract with Apple and the company is free to launch it from its services. But the opposition brief also adds new details. Apple suggests, for example, that Epic started this legal battle in part to draw attention to a declining franchise:
“For reasons that have nothing to do with Epic’s claims against Apple, Fortnite’s popularity is on the decline. As of July 2020, interest in Fortnite had dropped by nearly 70% compared to October 2019. This lawsuit ( and the front page headlines it generated) seems to be part of a marketing campaign designed to reinvigorate interest in Fortnite. “
Elsewhere, Apple notes that iOS isn’t an important part of FortniteRevenue of. He cites Epic’s revelations of which only 10 percent Fortnite Consumers regularly play on iPhones and Epic claims that Apple is the “smallest piece of the pie” when it comes to revenue. Again, the implication is that Epic is not taking “irreparable damage” (as the company claimed in its documents) but is raising a fuss for other selfish reasons.
Parallel to this argument, Apple says Epic’s claim that it suffered “reputational damage” from being initiated by the App Store is misleading. The iPhone maker says Epic’s “pre-planned media blitz” shows that it is actually welcoming the attention created by this case:
“If Epic were truly concerned about taking reputational damage as a result of this controversy, it would not be engaged in these elaborate efforts to publicize it. From all appearances (including the #freefortnite campaign), Epic thinks its conduct here will generate goodwill, boost its reputation, and lead users to Fortnite, not the other way around. This is not bad. “
This is only a small part of Apple’s larger argument, though. If you want to prepare for this month’s court hearing, you can read the full note on the opposition below: