Apple says Epic Games wanted a 'special deal' for Fortnite in new filing

Free Fortnite
Free Fortnite (Image credit: Epic Games)

What you need to know

  • Apple has formally responded to Epic's request for a restraining order.
  • The order asks for Fortnite to remain on the App Store while the lawsuit is ongoing.
  • Apple says that Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney asked for a "special deal" for Fortnite.

Apple has responded to Epic Games' lawsuit against its App Store policies.

Reported by CNBC, the company has told the court that Epic Games violated its App Store rules and should not be allowed back in the store while the legal battle between the two companies continues.

According to the filing, Apple says that Epic Games and its CEO Tim Sweeney had looked for specialized treatment in the store, something that would put a hole in Epic's argument that the company is fighting for equality for all developers on the platform. Phil Schiller, who runs the App Store for Apple, says that Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney sent him a letter directly asking for such a deal.

"On June 30, 2020, Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney wrote my colleagues and me an email asking for a 'side letter' from Apple that would create a special deal for only Epic that would fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple's iOS platform," former Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller wrote in a declaration. Schiller, whose title is now Fellow, runs Apple's App Store.

Schiller went on to say that the request specifically focused on Epic's ability to bypass the App Store's in-app payment system and offer its own way of accepting payments in the game. Apparently, Sweeney emailed Schiller the morning that Fortnite began offering such a payment system, without Apple's permission, saying that the company "will no longer adhere to Apple's payment processing restrictions."

Epic had requested a temporary restraining order to put Fortnite back on the App Store until the lawsuit was over, saying that the app's removal from the store was an emergency to its business. Apple has responded saying that "the 'emergency' is entirely of Epic's own making." The hearing to decide on that restraining order is set for Monday.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

  • Epic’s arrogance and immaturity is....(wait for it)...epic.
  • I don’t care about Epic, but I will use them as an example. So, I buy an iPhone or iPad knowing it will run Fortnite. I do so fully knowing I must get it through Apple, as there is no other way. Suddenly, because Apple and Epic are p*ssing on each other, I can no longer get it.
    If Apple had App Store competition for iOS Apps, I as a consumer am protected. I would just get it from another store. Apple and Epic could continue to p*ss on each other. Anti-trust is designed to protect the consumer.
  • I see the point but I can also understand as a consumer that part of the reason that I choose iPhone is that I know Apple is ensuring the App Store is secure and keeps me safe and confident in downloading whatever I want without worry. Plus the fact that every other platform (Google Play, Xbox, PS4, etc) also charges the same fee and has the same contracts for developers. The general question that I wonder about here is that - has the market decided that a single app store and a 30% fee is acceptable since that is what the company, the developers on that platform, and the customers all agreed to?
  • Epic has thier own online game store thats had its own controversy in signing exlusive deals with game companies and even being involved with removing games already presold on if EPIC truly believed in the average rate is 3% fee on a market sale of software...why foes the Epic store charge developers 17% ....if they expect Apple To only charge 3% on the apple store then they need to instantly start charging developers only 3% on the Epic store...oh and sue microsoft, amazon,google, facebook, steam as all of them charge more that 3% fee this was a contribed issue to get special treatment on EPIC’s part
  • That is going to be an interesting argument that I'm sure Apple will make. Just because they are the current target shouldn't negate the fact that every other platform also charges 30%. And Epic is suing Google, so there's that. But it does seem odd that Microsoft is left out (perhaps not a lot of people make in-app purchases on Xbox?