Apple Goes Nuclear, Threatens To Terminate Epic Games' Dev Accounts Over Fortnite Insubordination
In this case, Epic claims that if Fortnite doesn't shape up by August 28th, Apple will terminate all of its developers accounts and revoke access to both iOS and Mac development tools. Without access to the Apple Developer Program, Epic will no longer be able to distribute games through the iOS App Store or Mac App Store
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020
For those that haven't been following all of this drama between tech titans, Epic last week released an update for Fortnite that introduced its own payment system, clearly skirting the rules of both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Apple acted first, removing Fortnite from the App Store for violating its App Store policies. Epic already had a lawsuit ready to go against Apple, as it had predicted the move in a bold show of public theater. Google then made its move, also removing Fortnite from Google Play. Epic responded with another lawsuit.
Apple had largely kept quiet [until now], while other players with skin in the game -- like Facebook and Spotify -- have tossed in their two cents in support of Epic.
Epic claims that it took these measures to expose Apple's draconian App Store policies, which extract a 30 percent fee from developers selling apps. Epic feels that Apple should open the App Store to allow developers to provide their own payment systems or at least be more flexible when it comes to the fees that it charges developers. On the other hand, Apple has shown no willingness to bow to pressure from outside parties when it comes to changing its polices.
Following Apple's recent power move, Epic has filed a temporary injunction against Apple [PDF], claiming that “Apple’s actions will irreparably damage Epic’s reputation among Fortnite users and be catastrophic for the future of the separate Unreal Engine business."