Epic has filed an injunction claiming it will be booted from Apple’s Developer Program – preventing it from developing and distributing software on Mac and iOS, potentially having dramatic implications for its Unreal Engine business – if it refuses to comply with Apple’s request to remove its rule-breaking secondary payment option from Fortnite.
It’s the latest development in the battle between the two billion dollar technology companies which started in earnest last week, when Epic made the decision to implement an in-game payment option in the iOS and Android versions of Fortnite which circumvented Apple and Google’s official in-app purchase mechanisms, and thus their 30% cut.
Given that Epic’s move directly, and seemingly intentionally, contravened App Store guidelines – which state that developers wishing to unlock specific features or functionality within their apps must must use in-app purchases – it wasn’t much of a surprise when Apple made the decision to pull Fortnite from its App Store on the same day.
In response, Epic almost immediately released a short animated film styled after Apple’s famed ‘1984’ commercial (in which Epic boasted it had “defied the App Store Monopoly”), attempted to mobilise its legion of Fortnite players with the #FreeFortnite hashtag, and filed legal papers.
After a relatively quiet few days, Epic has now announced further legal proceedings, revealing it has filed an injunction against Apple, claiming the company will “terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools” on 28th August.
There’s a lot to get through in the accompanying legal document, but its key argument is framed around the recent US Congressional hearing in which Apple’s Tim Cook was asked if the company “ever retaliated against or disadvantaged a developer who went…