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Apple responds to Epic’s Fortnite lawsuit, says Tim Sweeney asked for “special deal”

Apple has responded, in court, to Epic Games’ lawsuit against the company over Fortnite’s removal from Apple’s App Store. In a filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple says that “having decided that it would rather enjoy the benefits of the App Store without paying for them, Epic has breached its contracts with Apple, using its own customers and Apple’s users as leverage.”

The filing, reported by The Verge, is Apple’s response to a suit filed by Epic last week alleging anti-competitive practices by Apple. After Epic published an updated version of Fortnite for the App Store on Aug. 13 — an update that bypassed Apple’s standard payment process (thereby cutting Apple out of a portion of revenue from Fortnite sales) — Apple pulled the battle royale game from its digital store. Epic responded by both filing suit and taking its fight with Apple to the court of public opinion, holding an in-game event that mocked Apple and positioned the company as an oppressive monopoly.

Apple then threatened to cut off Epic’s access to its developer tools, blocking the Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer from the iOS, iPadOS, and Mac OS platforms. Epic then sought an injunction to prevent Apple from terminating its Apple Developer Program accounts, saying that such a move would “reverberate well beyond video games” and “affect developers who use the Unreal Engine on Apple products in many fields.”

Apple responded Friday, saying, “In the wake of its own voluntary actions, Epic now seeks emergency relief. But the ‘emergency’ is entirely of Epic’s own making.” Apple added:

Developers who work to deceive Apple, as Epic has done here, are terminated. So when Epic willfully and knowingly breached its agreements by secretly installing a “hotfix” into its app to bypass Apple’s payment system and App Review Process, it knew full well what would happen and, in so doing, has knowingly and purposefully…