Apple has published their email war with Epic CEO Tim Sweeney

mongeese

Posts: 415   +64
Staff member
Recap: Last week, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney declared war on Apple by bypassing their tax on in-app purchases in the iOS Fortnite app. Apple subsequently removed Fortnite from the App Store and later restricted Epic's access to iOS and Mac developer accounts. Epic has launched several lawsuits against them in response.

As evidence, Apple’s lawyers submitted to the courts the email discussion between Tim Sweeney and Apple although the discussion is rather one-sided and it gets handed over to the lawyers pretty fast. On June 30, Sweeney addressed Apple's senior executives including Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Matt Fischer in a somewhat informal email requesting changes to App Store policies.

"Because of restrictions imposed by Apple, Epic is unable to provide consumers with certain features in our iOS apps. We would like to offer consumers the following features:

1) Competing payment processing options other than Apple payments, without Apple's fees, in Fortnite and other Epic Games software distributed through the iOS App Store;

2) A competing Epic Games Store app available through the iOS App Store and through direct installation that has equal access to underlying operating system features for software installation and update as the iOS App Store itself has, including the ability to install and update software as seamlessly as the iOS App Store experience."

Ten days later Apple's Vice President and Associate General Counsel (read: boss lawyer) Douglas Vetter wrote a long and serious letter to Epic's General Counsel Canon Pence. In it, he accuses Epic of requesting unfair treatment and abusing Apple's resources. He also highlights that fulfilling Epic's requests would compromise the trust between Apple and their customers, because Apple can't review apps downloaded from third-party app stores such as the Epic Games Store.

Sweeney bit back with another concise email to Apple’s executives: "it’s a sad state of affairs that Apple's senior executives would hand Epic's sincere request off to Apple's legal team to respond with such a self-righteous and self-serving screed – only lawyers could pretend that Apple is protecting consumers by denying choice in payments and stores to owners of iOS devices."

Almost a month later, he sent another email stating that Epic would go through with adding alternative payment methods to the Fortnite app with or without Apple's consent. That was last week, and you know the rest. The final two emails are generic ones sent from Apple to the "Epic Games team" informing them of their infractions to Apple's policies and the punishment – removal from the App Store.

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Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 298   +341
When you are sitting on $2,000,000,000,000 with another $1,000,000,000,000 on the way...

You're a giant in the playground and everyone else gets crushed.
This is still a ton of money but Apple only actually has a few hundred billion dollars of cash (nearly all in Ireland):
 

Cubi Dorf

Posts: 246   +121
I am apple user and never play fortnite, but I don’t think it is being smart to release emails that are to being used in lawsuit.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,073   +2,622
I am apple user and never play fortnite, but I don’t think it is being smart to release emails that are to being used in lawsuit.
They don't care if they win or not, Epic just wants to make noise. But thankfully people have been calling out both Apple and Epic on being hypocrites.
 
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Burty117

Posts: 3,872   +1,762
I've been saying it over and over and I'll say it again. Abide by Apple's rules and increase your prices so the Apple tax is passed onto their customers. If they can afford an iPhone, they can afford the extra dollar or whatever it'll be on top for App payments.

Nobody complains about Console games having these extra licensing fees on top, it's just passed onto the customers instead.

Apple are providing the platform just like Sony and Microsoft do with their console ecosystems, it's no different here. Google did the exact same thing and kicked Fortnite off their own App Store, Difference is Android has alternative ways of installing Apps, iOS doesn't, that's what Apple customers bought into and prefer.
 
This is still a ton of money but Apple only actually has a few hundred billion dollars of cash (nearly all in Ireland):
and exactly what does that have to do with anything? Epic wanted special treatment and thus once a can is opened, every app developer would want the same treatment because apparently you are someone special. Epic only has Fortnite to show for in terms of leverage. Nevermind the other games that has come and gone and Fortnite will eventually follow suite. Epic just wanted to maximize its revenue before it eventually becomes a cringe topic in the near future. Epic reminds me of an employee or a friend who boasts amazingly of himself then eventually nobody wants to hangout with.
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,872   +1,762
Apple does not allow this, it must not be more expensive than their own storefront.
You had me intrigued so I looked it up. Where did you get your information? Because I can't find that being the case anywhere and in-fact, in Apples own "Principles and Practices" It just says " developers decide what they want to charge from a set of price tiers. "Developers decide what they want to charge from a set of price tiers." Link

I can't even find a dodgy reddit post backing up your claim...
BUT, even if that is the rule, the only storefront anyone can sell iOS apps is Apples App Store so the rule is pointless surely?
 
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candle_86

Posts: 551   +477
I'd just go back to the old app but charge $200 and tell the iOS users if don't like it contact, and put in the email address of apples chief lawyer and the Cris email addresses. Let the consumers voice their opinions to apple directly.
 

franticfrosty

Posts: 63   +75
You had me intrigued so I looked it up. Where did you get your information? Because I can't find that being the case anywhere and in-fact, in Apples own "Principles and Practices" It just says " developers decide what they want to charge from a set of price tiers. "Developers decide what they want to charge from a set of price tiers." Link

I can't even find a dodgy reddit post backing up your claim...
BUT, even if that is the rule, the only storefront anyone can sell iOS apps is Apples App Store so the rule is pointless surely?
Apple has it clearly stated that you cant have the price higher on apples system because that would interfere with the "apple experience", a simple google search got me that from apples website. Even linus tech tips on the wan show discussed this exact thing lol
 
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Shadowboxer

Posts: 933   +553
I'd just go back to the old app but charge $200 and tell the iOS users if don't like it contact, and put in the email address of apples chief lawyer and the Cris email addresses. Let the consumers voice their opinions to apple directly.
That wouldn’t do much, I’m pretty certain the vast majority of Apples customers don’t play Fortnite. Sweeney is just upset because he wants all the money that the rich kids pay to play fortnite on the iPads that their parents buy them for Christmas and he wants Apple to have less.
 
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franticfrosty

Posts: 63   +75
That wouldn’t do much, I’m pretty certain the vast majority of Apples customers don’t play Fortnite. Sweeney is just upset because he wants all the money that the rich kids pay to play fortnite on the iPads that their parents buy them for Christmas and he wants Apple to have less.
Apple only took 30% of $50 Billion in 2019 from app store revenue, They are super poor I can understand why they need more, Its more about Apple being too controlling and having a monopoly.
 
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Sean T

Posts: 23   +25
TechSpot Elite
I am apple user and never play fortnite, but I don’t think it is being smart to release emails that are to being used in lawsuit.
Apple didn’t release the emails. They filed the emails with the courts as part of their defense. That made them public record, which was then published by a third party.
 
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brucek

Posts: 529   +615
TechSpot Elite
Most CEOs would get sacked for this sort of conduct. The shareholders just can’t remove Sweeney.
Epic is closely held and it would seem Sweeney has all the support he needs for Epic's efforts to 1) reduce the tax they pay to other's stores; and 2) build out their own stores as a significant new revenue opportunity.

As to the core legal issues, Apple's behavior will either be found monopolistic or not using the laws and precedents at play. It will not be about salty emails.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 933   +553
Epic is closely held and it would seem Sweeney has all the support he needs for Epic's efforts to 1) reduce the tax they pay to other's stores; and 2) build out their own stores as a significant new revenue opportunity.

As to the core legal issues, Apple's behavior will either be found monopolistic or not using the laws and precedents at play. It will not be about salty emails.
Oh of course, the emails won’t determine what the judges think. Well unless you have a very creative legal team.

Apple hold a 45% share of the smartphone industry I believe. I imagine any lawyer is going to have a hard time proving to a judge that this is a monopoly. I think Apple are fair to charge what they do, they built the App Store, they attract the users who spend the most. They update it and they also take some responsibility for when there are problems with apps. They keep that platform premium.

Epic want to do to iOS what they did to Windows. Build a shop within that operating system and pay nothing to the platform owner. That’s fine on Windows, it’s normal. But not on iOS.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,238   +2,056
Billionaires arguing with other billionaires over the source of their next billion

Move along, nothing to see here.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 17   +7
About half that, if you count the world market ... which in this case is the applicable standard, I believe most judges would rule.
Antitrust lawsuits concerns a nation's rules, not the world. If the lawsuit is in the US, it's all about US market access. If it would be about global trade, they'd go through WTO, governments and such.
 

Matt12345170

Posts: 116   +53
You had me intrigued so I looked it up. Where did you get your information? Because I can't find that being the case anywhere and in-fact, in Apples own "Principles and Practices" It just says " developers decide what they want to charge from a set of price tiers. "Developers decide what they want to charge from a set of price tiers." Link

I can't even find a dodgy reddit post backing up your claim...
BUT, even if that is the rule, the only storefront anyone can sell iOS apps is Apples App Store so the rule is pointless surely?
Apple has it clearly stated that you cant have the price higher on apples system because that would interfere with the "apple experience", a simple google search got me that from apples website. Even linus tech tips on the wan show discussed this exact thing lol
I am not sure where I came across it, your right, if it's on Apple's website, they make it very difficult to find, but as Frosty was saying, I was able to find reference to it on the WAN show - here is the link with a timestamp
If I have another minute to look around I'll try to find a better source, but I had never watched this video - and had heard about this somewhere before.

It's not just about the storefront though, it can't be higher than your website. Citation needed - I guess.
 
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Cubi Dorf

Posts: 246   +121
Ok that is making mores sense. Thank you for clarifying.

Apple didn’t release the emails. They filed the emails with the courts as part of their defense. That made them public record, which was then published by a third party.