Last week, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney declared war on Apple by bypassing their tax on in-app purchases in the iOS Fortnite app. Apple subsequently removed Fortnite from the App Store and later restricted Epic’s access to iOS and Mac developer accounts. Epic has launched several lawsuits against them in response.
As evidence, Apple’s lawyers submitted to the courts the email discussion between Tim Sweeney and Apple although the discussion is rather one-sided and it gets handed over to the lawyers pretty fast. On June 30, Sweeney addressed Apple’s senior executives including Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Matt Fischer in a somewhat informal email requesting changes to App Store policies.
“Because of restrictions imposed by Apple, Epic is unable to provide consumers with certain features in our iOS apps. We would like to offer consumers the following features:
1) Competing payment processing options other than Apple payments, without Apple’s fees, in Fortnite and other Epic Games software distributed through the iOS App Store;
2) A competing Epic Games Store app available through the iOS App Store and through direct installation that has equal access to underlying operating system features for software installation and update as the iOS App Store itself has, including the ability to install and update software as seamlessly as the iOS App Store experience.”
Ten days later Apple’s Vice President and Associate General Counsel (read: boss lawyer) Douglas Vetter wrote a long and serious letter to Epic’s General Counsel Canon Pence. In it, he accuses Epic of requesting unfair treatment and abusing Apple’s resources. He also highlights that fulfilling Epic’s requests would compromise the trust between Apple and their customers, because Apple can’t review apps downloaded from third-party app stores such as the Epic Games Store.
Sweeney bit back with another concise email to Apple’s executives: “it’s a sad state of affairs that Apple’s senior executives would hand Epic’s sincere request off to Apple’s legal team to respond with such a self-righteous and self-serving screed – only lawyers could pretend that Apple is protecting consumers by denying choice in payments and stores to owners of iOS devices.”
Almost a month later, he sent another email stating that Epic would go through with adding alternative payment methods to the Fortnite app with or without Apple’s consent. That was last week, and you know the rest. The final two emails are generic ones sent from Apple to the “Epic Games team” informing them of their infractions to Apple’s policies and the punishment – removal from the App Store.