'Epic is a saboteur, not a martyr,' Apple fires off in latest Fortnite filing

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,530   +577
Staff member
In brief: A new 37-page court filing from Apple in its legal battle with Epic Games harshly contends that the developer is solely responsible for any damages incurred from Apple's suspension of Fortnite from the App Store. It reiterates that it is willing to reinstate Fortnite when the offending in-app payment system is removed.

Epic is seeking injunctive relief from damages brought on by Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store. Cupertino filed an opposition brief on Tuesday, pointing out that the only suffering the developer is enduring is "self-inflicted."

"Epic will not suffer irreparable harm because its claimed harm is entirely self-inflicted," the filing reads. "Epic is a saboteur, not a martyr. It neither needs nor is equitably entitled to the extraordinary relief it seeks from this Court."

The harshly worded response continues, asserting that Epic is "holding its own customers hostage to gain leverage in a business dispute." Apple's legal team insists that Epic could have ended this at any time but has chosen to feed the fire instead.

"Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this Court for emergency assistance in putting it out, even though Epic can do so itself in an instant by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have profitably governed its relationship with Apple for years."

20-09-15 Apple's Opposi... by Florian Mueller

The brief also claims that Epic is only bringing legal action to generate publicity for a franchise that is losing popularity. From October 2019 to July 2020, Apple states that interest in Fortnite has declined by as much as 70 percent. It says that the Unreal Engine developer is using the court battle to generate interest in the brand by keeping it in the headlines.

The Cupertino firm also refutes Epic's claim of "reputational harm." It points to the pre-planned nature of Epic's court actions as evidence that it was not concerned with harm to its reputation and has, in fact, benefited from the legal battle.

"If Epic were truly concerned that it would suffer reputational injury from this dispute, it would not be engaging in these elaborate efforts to publicize it. From all appearances (including the #freefortnite campaign), Epic thinks its conduct here will engender goodwill, boost its reputation, and drive users to Fortnite, not the opposite. That is not harm."

The filing is a scathing rebuke of Epic's actions. It frames the lawsuits are a frivolous waste of the court's time and resources in what should be an open-and-shut breach of contract by Epic. But is it just a distraction? Epic maintains that the fight is about Apple's unfair walled garden and its policies that stifle any hint of competition.

This opposition brief is only a warm-up session. You can read it in-full above, but the real fireworks should start when the full multi-pronged case goes in front of a judge on September 28.

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Xallisto

Posts: 79   +88
Once again this is about Apple gate-keeping to hardware it does not even own, knock em down Epic!
 

brucek

Posts: 499   +576
TechSpot Elite
I agree the pre-game antics are all for show and ultimately just come down to money, meaning they could be settled either way once there's a ruling on the core legality. (I.e., Epic could pay Apple back for the 30% cut they avoided, or Apple could refund Epic the 30% cut it was found to have taken via illegal monopoly.)

That said I think the core dispute is a real one, both in the US and in other jurisdictions. It will likely take years to play out though.
 

Xallisto

Posts: 79   +88
apple has ton of stupid people supporting them so I don't expect them to get any pressure from their customers.
The irony being that they are the ones most being exploited, Apple gets everything it wants, it gets control of a platform via their OS and all the hardware is owned, maintained and paid for by iphone users.

How do iphone users not see whats going on.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 269   +299
Apple may win but their still in the wrong here and are as anti competitive as ever... But like trump apple has ton of stupid people supporting them so I don't expect them to get any pressure from their customers.
Yeah Apple has some pretty good lawyers and they're basically in the right here. But at some point (more likely by an anti-competitive investigation started by a government entity), they're going to be forced to change. Having a walled garden can be very nice and competition can still succeed outside of it, but when the walled garden gets to be so big, then it will need to be regulated. Other examples of successful walled gardens include Costco and Tesla. These are not so big that choice is limited by these companies, but Apple it probably is. Btw AOL was an example of a walled garden that was outdone by the competition.
 

MSIGamer

Posts: 26   +24
Yeah Apple has some pretty good lawyers and they're basically in the right here. But at some point (more likely by an anti-competitive investigation started by a government entity), they're going to be forced to change. Having a walled garden can be very nice and competition can still succeed outside of it, but when the walled garden gets to be so big, then it will need to be regulated.
Reading this brief though, these lawyers don't seem very smart, attacking Epic personally, using some terms that are completely uncalled for. It just seems bitter and putting themselves in a victim role hiding behind rules that are questionable in the first place, such as apple's right to terminate the contract at any time for any reason or no reason.
Then at the end they claim they are putting their costumers first.

I think they confused 'customers' with 'money'.
 
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Vrmithrax

Posts: 1,543   +578
It's kind of fun watching 2 companies that each have their own particular appetites for anti-competitive practices fighting over which one is worst. I honestly wouldn't care if both of them went down in a fiery crash together.

But, unfortunately, in this case Apple is likely to win. Epic has a valid point about the Apple walled garden and lack of competition allowed on iOS, but blatantly breaching their contract and then immediately filing a big lawsuit the second they got punished for their malfeasance is just not the way to go about fighting it. Bring it up, file a lawsuit, push for change, but do it the right way. Breaching a contract and making big dramatic flourishes just to play the victim and get attention may get you some traction in the court of public opinion, but in actual legal courtrooms those kind of antics are frowned upon - they can hurt your case far more than help you.
 

tacobravo

Posts: 116   +130
Apple may win but their still in the wrong here and are as anti competitive as ever... But like trump apple has ton of stupid people supporting them so I don't expect them to get any pressure from their customers.
I support Trump and I'm not a stupid person. Everyone has their preferences and if people want to support Trump or Apple, the lack of intelligence doesn't dictate why people support people and brands some people just blindly hate.
 

Kirby1

Posts: 20   +38
Appstopre is not a free marketplace where you could sell your grandmas furniture
So why is it ok for Netflix to charge a subscription fee outside of the apple store for service that works on apple but it's not ok for epic to do the same thing?

No one said the app store was a free marketplace but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of good arguments that it's far too strict and one sided.
 
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Vrmithrax

Posts: 1,543   +578
So why is it ok for Netflix to charge a subscription fee outside of the apple store for service that works on apple but it's not ok for epic to do the same thing?

No one said the app store was a free marketplace but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of good arguments that it's far too strict and one sided.
Totally different situations. In the case of Netflix, you are paying a monthly fee for a subscription service. There is no "in app purchase" involved, it is a flat fee for the service. With Epic, the situation was essentially in-game purchases or micro-transactions that Epic wanted to bypass Apple with their own outside pay system and pocket all profits directly.

The problem many have with Apple (and Epic is fighting against) is more that it's an enforced monopoly that they rule with an iron fist. It's why I have refused to own a single iOS product since it was introduced.
 
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Bill A

Posts: 13   +2
Apple may win but their still in the wrong here and are as anti competitive as ever... But like trump apple has ton of stupid people supporting them so I don't expect them to get any pressure from their customers.
Right on point.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,033   +2,565
It's kind of fun watching 2 companies that each have their own particular appetites for anti-competitive practices fighting over which one is worst. I honestly wouldn't care if both of them went down in a fiery crash together.

But, unfortunately, in this case Apple is likely to win. Epic has a valid point about the Apple walled garden and lack of competition allowed on iOS, but blatantly breaching their contract and then immediately filing a big lawsuit the second they got punished for their malfeasance is just not the way to go about fighting it. Bring it up, file a lawsuit, push for change, but do it the right way. Breaching a contract and making big dramatic flourishes just to play the victim and get attention may get you some traction in the court of public opinion, but in actual legal courtrooms those kind of antics are frowned upon - they can hurt your case far more than help you.
Epic just wants to cause a scene, they don't care if they win or not in court. What they want is to win the public's opinion and hope that public outrage will force Apple to change... but they forgot just how loyal Apple followers can be :)
 
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theruck

Posts: 232   +104
So why is it ok for Netflix to charge a subscription fee outside of the apple store for service that works on apple but it's not ok for epic to do the same thing?

No one said the app store was a free marketplace but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of good arguments that it's far too strict and one sided.
simply because netflix has the agreement with apple while epic does not
 

lipe123

Posts: 927   +492
simply because netflix has the agreement with apple while epic does not
Epic tried to get an agreement first.

It's not just Netflix either. Amazon and Spotify pay 15% apple tax and everyone else has to pay 30%
Amazon is not a monthly subscription and no different than in-game purchases.
Taking a 30% cut for distribution of digital goods is an industry "standard" that steam and many others use and its complete BS!! They based the 30% on the way business was done when you had to warehouse and distribute physical goods.

This HAS to change and the "silly billion/million dollar company playground brawl" might be the start of this change. It's a win for consumers and developers and pure greed from Apple and others to keep charging 30%
 

axiomatic13

Posts: 267   +204
Epic is completely in the wrong here. The difficulty for me is that Epic has something I want, where Apple has nothing I want.