Apple has said it won’t consider letting Fortnite back on the App Store until its legal battle with Epic Games is complete, which might not be for several years.
Epic recently confirmed it was launching an appeal against the decision in its antitrust lawsuit against Apple, which saw the judge in the case rule against the Fortnite maker in nine of the 10 counts it had brought against the iPhone firm.
The legal battle began in August 2020 after Epic moved to circumvent Apple’s platform fees with a new direct payment option in Fortnite, leading to the game’s removal from the App Store and the termination of Epic’s developer account.
Following the recent court ruling, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney wrote to Apple asking it to reactivate the company’s Fortnite developer account and promising to “adhere to Apple’s guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple platforms”.
In the only ruling Epic succeeded in, beginning December 9 Apple will no longer be allowed to restrict developers from including links or buttons that point users to external payment options where they can pay for services without Apple taking a cut. Should Apple comply with the ruling, Sweeney said Epic would resubmit Fortnite to the App Store.
But in its response, which was shared online by Sweeney, Apple said it had declined to reinstate Epic’s developer account and “will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgment becomes final and nonappealable”.
Sweeney tweeted on Wednesday: “Late last night, Apple informed Epic that Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a 5-year process.”
“Apple lied,” he added. “Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d ‘welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else’. Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users.”
Epic’s opening brief in its appeal is due on December 12 and Apple’s reply is due by January 20, 2022, Reuters reports.