Apple says Fortnite removal from App Store is “self-inflicted” injury by Epic

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Apple Headquarters
Source: Apple

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) strongly refuted the allegations of Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, which the tech giant removed from the App Store.

The online video games developer alleged that the tech giant engaged in “anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices” involving its App Store and the iOS in-app payment processing. It is seeking injunctive relief to stop Apple’s allegedly unlawful conduct.

In a court filing on Friday, Apple said the removal of Fortnite from the App Store is a “self-inflicted” injury since Epic chose to “willfully and knowingly” breach their agreements.

Apple says Epic can easily cure the injury it is claiming

Epic “knew fully well” the consequences of its decision to “bypass Apple’s payment system and review process” by “secretly installing a “hotfix” into its Fortnite App. It “made the deliberate choice to cheat Apple” on August 13,” according to the tech giant in its opposition to the Fortnite maker’s motion for TRO.

Apple argued that the Court must deny Epic’s request for an injunction citing the reason that Epic “knowingly and purposely created the harm to game players and developers.”

The tech giant noted, “TROs [temporary restraining orders] exists to remedy irreparable harms, not reparable self-inflicted wounds… All of the injury Epic claims to itself, game players, and developers could have been avoided if Epic filed its lawsuit without breaching its agreements.

“All of that alleged injury for which Epic improperly seeks emergency relief could disappear tomorrow if Epic cured its breach. Apple has offered Epic the opportunity to cure..,” according to Apple.

Additionally, Apple argued that Epic “has not and cannot show that it will likely succeed on the merits” of its antitrust lawsuit. The tech giant noted that Epic did not conduct any “elaborate inquiry” and ignored the fact the users can play Fortnite on numerous platforms without support from Apple.

The tech giant quoted the Ninth Circuit, which previously stated that a “self-inflicted wounds are not irreparable injury.”

Epic demanded a “special deal”

Apple Fellow Phil Schiller, who served as Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing for nearly 20 years, submitted a declaration in support of the tech giant’s opposition to Epic’s motion.

In his declaration, Schiller said Apple requires all developers including Epic to execute Developer Agreement, and a Developer Program License Agreement to gain access to the App Store and the tech giant’s different developer tools.

The Fortnite maker had these agreements with the tech giant for many years. However, Epic demanded Apple various changes to its rights and obligations under its contracts over the past several months. Its demands would be destructive to Apple’s basic business model, according to Shiller.

In fact, Shiller said Epic CEO Tim Sweeney demanded a “side letter” from Apple that would create a “special deal” only for his company. Sweeny wants a deal to “fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform…He acknowledged that his demand would directly violate numerous terms of the agreements between Apple and Epic.

Apple denied Sweeney’s request for preferential treatment over other developers and provided a detailed explanation for its decision. Sweeney disagreed with the tech giant. He decided to change the Fortnite app on the iOS platform to circumvent Apple’s In-App Purchase mechanism (IAP).

“Epic chose to hide unauthorized software in our App Store to deprive Apple of the commission the parties had agreed upon… Epic’s conduct is akin to a manufacturer walking into a retail store and asking shoppers to pay the manufacturer directly for their products, leaving the store itself with nothing for its efforts,” said Shiller.

Law360.com published a copy of Apple’s court filing along with Shiller’s declaration in opposition to Epic’s motion for a TRO.

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