Apple responded to Epic’s demands for the iPhone maker to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store in new legal filings, saying the company’s injuries are entirely self-inflicted and Fortnite can revert to iOS anytime. moment, provided that Epic removes the payment system integrated into the application that triggered the deletion of the game in the first place.
Apple does not use new arguments. Since the publisher removed Fortnite from the App Store in August, the iPhone maker has made it clear that it would be happy to return to the status quo. But these filings provide more detail on the legal arguments on which Apple will rely in its response to Epic’s request for a preliminary injunction and the restoration of Fortnite to iOS users. A full court hearing to decide this issue is scheduled for September 28.
Throughout the deposit, Apple reiterates its main argument: that the company provides a valuable service by maintaining the App Store, and that by circumventing the rules of the App Store, Epic has broken its contract with Apple and the company is free. to deny him access to his services. But Apple is also adding new details. Apple suggests, for example, that Epic started this legal battle in part to draw attention to a declining franchise.
For reasons unrelated to Epic’s allegations against Apple, Fortnite’s popularity is in decline. By July 2020, interest in Fortnite had declined by nearly 70% from October 2019. This trial (and the headlines it generated) appears to be part of a marketing campaign designed to re-energize interest in Fortnite.
Elsewhere, Apple notes that iOS does not represent a large portion of Fortnite’s revenue. He cites Epic’s revelations that only 10% of Fortnite consumers regularly play the iPhone, and claims that Epic has said Apple is the smallest piece of the cake when it comes to revenue. Again, this implies that Epic isn’t suffering irreparable harm (as the company has claimed in its own documents), but is making a big deal out of other personal reasons.
Along with this argument, Apple maintains that Epic’s claim that it suffered reputational damage due to the removal of Fortnite from the App Store is also misleading. The iPhone maker claims that Epic’s pre-planned Blitzkrieg media shows that it is in fact a welcoming attention created by this affair (the Blitzkrieg – clear war – is an offensive military operational targeted tactic aimed at winning a decisive victory through the localized and time-limited commitment of a powerful set of motorized forces, land and air, with a view to making a deep impact on military, economic or political capacity):
If Epic was really worried that it would suffer damage to its reputation as a result of this dispute, it would not engage in these elaborate efforts to publicize it. From all appearances (including the #freefortnite campaign), Epic believes its conduct here will breed goodwill, build its reputation, and lead Fortnite users, not the other way around. It is not a bad thing.
Apple’s arguments to justify the court should not grant Epic’s request to force it to restore Fortnite on the App Store
The editor argues that:
Since Fortnite debuted on the iPhone in 2018, Apple has provided Epic with an exceptional array of benefits. Apple has licensed Epic for its full suite of development tools, which Epic has used to make over 200 changes reviewed by Apple; At Epic’s request, Apple has released over 140 unique updates to end users and made systemic changes to improve the game in Fortnite. Apple has provided standard marketing support by promoting Fortnite in the App Store, showcasing Fortnite at major events, sending over 500 million Fortnite marketing communications to end users, and even placing signage boards. Fortnite Times Square display at Apple’s expense. Perhaps more importantly, Apple gave Epic access to its billion iPhone customers and made it easy to transact with them using the safe and secure App Store. Over 130 million people have downloaded Fortnite to the iPhone, bringing Epic more than $ 550 million through iOS alone. For all of this, Epic paid Apple just $ 99 per year for a developer license, plus a 30% commission on digital purchases by end users.
Epic now wants to play on different rules – it wants to continue enjoying these strained and expensive benefits of the Apple ecosystem, including continued access to Apple iPhone customers – for free. To avoid paying Apple, Epic smuggled a patch into Fortnite that bypassed the App Store’s payment functionality, in willful violation of its contractual promises that prohibit cheating on the system. Simultaneously, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has declared war on Apple on a multitude of fronts: creative, technical, commercial and legal. Apple has responded reasonably by exercising its absolute right to remove Fortnite from the App Store and terminating the developer privileges of Epic and its affiliates, unless and until Epic returns to comply with Apple policies. . Epic refuses to do so and instead asks the Court to make an extraordinary order covering the parties’ agreements so that Epic can use Apple’s services without paying commissions.
Epic’s motion should be dismissed as it failed to meet one of the four traditional fairness factors necessary to justify a preliminary injunction:
Apple is not in a monopoly position, and Epic is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its argument that the iPhone’s built-in business model violates antitrust laws. Indeed, no court has ever accepted a claim like this, and the sheer novelty of Epic’s position precludes a preliminary injunction. The App Store connects app developers with iPhone users for business transactions. Apple charges developers, in addition to a nominal annual fee, a commission on paid applications and in-app digital purchases by end users. This approach and commission structure, which is common in the industry, is providing Apple with a financial return on its significant investments in building, safeguarding and maintaining the iPhone ecosystem – which has fueled an exponential increase in iPhone production. ‘mobile devices and applications, which has greatly benefited users and developers, bringing greatly increased choice to consumers. Simply put, the iPhone business model is fiercely competitive. As a result, Epic’s theories of maintaining the monopoly will fail in substance.
Epic also cannot demonstrate irreparable harm, which is reason enough to dismiss its petition for a preliminary injunction. Epic started a fire and poured gasoline on it, and is now asking the court for emergency help to put it out, even though Epic can do it itself in an instant by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have ruled. with profit its relationship with Apple for years. This Court was correct when it had previously held that self-inflicted injuries are not irreparable injuries. Epic created the current situation by triggering its fix, knowing that Apple would invoke its contractual rights to protect iPhone customers. Apple is legally and fairly entitled to sever ties with a party that continues to violate the rules and affiliates of that party; As a result, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and kicked Epic out of the developer program. Apple has taken this approach thousands of times with other developers and their affiliates. There is no reason for this Court to grant extraordinary relief when Epic itself can prevent further harm – itself, to Fortnite players or to third parties – by pressing a button, and “upholding its agreements with Apple … while this litigation continues. ”
The balance of difficulties favors Apple. Epic’s fix wasn’t just an open breach of contract, but a fundamental breach of trust. Apple promises its customers that the App Store will be a safe and trustworthy place for customers to discover and download applications. By inserting secret, unexamined features into an app, Epic threatens the relationship between Apple and iPhone customers. Allowing Epic to continue offering Fortnite and Unreal Engine without complying with Apple’s requirements would endanger the privacy and security of iPhone customers, as well as the stability and integrity of the iPhone ecosystem.
Finally, the public interest justifies the refusal of an injunction because Epic is responsible for harming the very community it claims to protect. If Epic were really concerned about preserving access for Fortnite iPhone users or Unreal Engine developers’ access, they would disable the fix and comply with Apple policies while awaiting resolution of their claims. Instead, Epic is holding its own clients hostage to gain leverage in a trade dispute. On the other hand, Apple is protecting a billion iPhone users threatened by Epic’s actions (and the injunction demands). This court should sanction such unauthorized and dangerous activity and should not deprive Apple of the ability to protect its users from such attacks, especially given the very early stage of this litigation.
Source : Apple
And you ?
What do you think of the arguments advanced by Apple?