Apple has responded to Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit over its iOS App Store policies. CNBC reports that the filing asks a court not to temporarily reverse an App Store ban while the suit is ongoing. And it accuses Epic of disingenuously creating an “emergency” by accepting direct payments through Fortnite in violation of Apple’s rules.
Apple executive Phil Schiller wrote that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney asked for a “special deal with only Epic” that would “fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform.” When Apple declined, Epic changed its policies to cut Apple out of in-app purchases. Now, the company argues that Epic’s ban is its own responsibility. “In the wake of its own voluntary actions, Epic now seeks emergency relief. But the ‘emergency’ is entirely of Epic’s own making,” Apple’s response reads.
Elsewhere in the filing, Apple laid out a defense of its in-app purchase rules. “If developers can avoid the digital checkout, it is the same as if a customer leaves an Apple retail store without paying for shoplifted product: Apple does not get paid,” it reads, according to Axios.
Epic sued Apple last week in a rapidly escalating fight over mobile app store policies. Apple banned Fortnite after Epic introduced direct payments that bypassed Apple’s in-app purchase system and its 30 percent commission. Epic retaliated with a lawsuit claiming that Apple violates antitrust law by controlling iOS platform access through the App Store and requiring developers to use its payment options.
Apple has previously said its locked-down system creates “a safe and trusted place” for users. Meanwhile, Epic has framed its fight around freedom and consumer choice, parodying Apple’s famous “1984” ad to paint the phone maker as a repressive dictatorship. It’s also taken aim at Google after being kicked off Android’s Play Store. While Android users can still install Fortnite, Epic filed a suit claiming Google erects “contractual and technological barriers” that disadvantage non-Play Store apps.
Alongside the Fortnite lawsuit, Apple is facing antitrust scrutiny in Congress. CEO Tim Cook testified at a House Judiciary Committee hearing last month, and questions focused largely on Apple’s App Store policies. The Supreme Court also denied Apple’s request to dismiss a different lawsuit last year, affirming that developers could sue over antitrust concerns.