In August of last year, Apple carried out a commercial move that to date has not been resolved in US courts: the technology giant removed the Fortnite from its app store, a ploy that was later copied by Google against Epic Games.
The justification of the two companies was Epic’s strategy to start selling V-Bucks, Fortnite’s official currency, within the game itself. In doing so, Epic circumvented Apple and Google’s system of charging a fee to apps that sell in-app purchases. Until that time, every purchase made on Fortnite generated a 30% fee for Apple. With the new scheme, Epic kept all the profit from the sales of V-Bucks, without the need to transfer values to Apple and Google.
As soon as the companies took Fortnite out of their app stores, Epic filed a lawsuit against both and started the #FreeFortnite campaign. That was the beginning of the saga that, more than a year later, has no end date.
The first strategy used by Epic was to get the support of its players and fans. So, on August 20th, he released a short film on his Youtube. The video, which stars a character with an apple head and corporate attire, alludes to the book 1984 by George Orwell.
The text that runs at the end of the short explains that Epic challenged Apple’s system and that, therefore, it needed the support of its players to prevent the iPhone manufacturer from becoming a monopoly.
Soon after, the legal process began. In the documents, which are hundreds of pages long, Epic’s lawyers argue that the company’s strategy would benefit not just them, but thousands of app developers who had to sacrifice 30% of their profits to pay Apple’s fee.
Google was the next to be sued after removing Fortnite from the Play Store, with Epic using the same arguments over the app’s abusive rates.
the bullshit in justice
In May 2021, the court fight officially began in US courts. What was supposed to be a dispute over fees charged on apps has turned into a veritable data feast. Apple, Google and Epic Games revealed several numbers of their companies.
One of the most expressive data to be revealed was the amount of money that Fortnite made between 2018 and 2019: more than US$ 9 billion in just two years.
Other information was brought to light with the revelation of emails between Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, and executives from Xbox, Ubisoft and also from Apple itself. The summary of these communications is that, basically, Sweeney was looking for allies in his fight against Apple. And with Apple, emails boil down to discussions that, as we already know, have not led to any resolution.
Even left for Microsoft: during the trial, one of the documents showed that the company was considering reducing the fee charged in the Xbox store from 30% to 12%.
In other words: in May the court days were defined by a lot of confusion, with the Epic and Apple teams shooting everywhere and revealing a lot of things that, honestly, didn’t make any difference to the case.
Even the Breaded…
In one of the most bizarre moments of all this bullshit, Apple’s team of lawyers brought up Fumbled. Yes, the banana skin from Fortnite. The discussion revolved around the following question: would it be Bumbled, in fact, naked? Yes, it sounds absurd, but it actually happened.
One of Apple’s arguments is that Epic had inappropriate content for children in its store and, as an example, it cited the fact that Embananado was given social attire in a later version of the character. Which, for Apple, indicated that the original skin was then naked.
In September, a judge had to get into this whole mess and ruled that the Fumbled was not an allusion to a naked man, but just a skin of… banana.
This entire situation gained extensive coverage in the international press, which did not spare any of the companies from joking with the character.
It felt like the end, but it wasn’t.
Back in September, a judge ruled: Apple could no longer force app developers to use the iOS payment system, thus indicating that if Fortnite returned to the App Store, Epic could market the apps. -Bucks the way they always wanted.
The problem is that in that same decision, the judge also said that Apple was not obligated to put Fortnite back in the app store and therefore the decision would depend on an agreement between the company and Epic Games (which so far has not It happened). Sweeney, meanwhile, celebrated the breakthrough for all developers.
Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers. https://t.co/cGTBxThnsP
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 10, 2021
And if it looked like this was the end of the saga, we were fooled. In addition to the bullshit in the United States, Apple and Epic also took the fight to Australia, but there the trial should only take place in November of next year.
Epic x Google
The whole Fortnite situation was focused on the fight between Epic and Apple, but Google was not left behind. The company also sues Epic for trying to circumvent its app store rules, but the legal status of that lawsuit isn’t nearly as chaotic as Apple’s struggle.
For now, what is known is that Google is seeking monetary redress from Epic and that the developer is fighting this request.
See also: Fortnite Store: How to buy skins and other items
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