Apple Uses Legal Loophole To Ban Fortnite App For Up To 5 Years Despite Being Exposed In Court

(FiveNation.com)- Apple will continue to ban Epic Games’ Fortnite from the App Store, and that ban could last five years or longer.

Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, said this week that Fortnite received word from Apple that the extremely popular game would not be allowed to return to the App Store until all legal rulings and appeals regarding the case between Epic Games and Apple are fully resolved.

On Wednesday, Sweeney published tweets that documented the correspondence between his company and Apple. A letter Epic Games received from one of Apple’s attorneys denied their request to reinstate their developer program account. The reasoning for the decision was breach of trust and breach of contract.

In one tweet, Sweeney wrote:

“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.”

Fortnite is one of the most popular video games in the world. It’s free for people to download and play, but it does offer purchases that can be made inside the app.

In August of 2020, Apple removed the game from the App Store, saying the company violated their payment rules. This happened when Epic Games tried to offer players an alternative way to pay for the in-app purchases.

When this happened, Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple, saying the tech giant was being a monopoly, and engaging in behavior that was anti-competitive since it was prohibiting all app developers from using a payment method other than the built-in App Store system.

This month, a judge ruled in favor of Apple. The judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, said Epic didn’t demonstrate that Apple was a monopoly under either state or federal antitrust laws.

Apple could have just reinstated Epic Games to the App Store as long as they followed their terms and conditions, but they declined to do so. They said Apple “will not consider any further request for reinstatement until the district court’s judgment becomes final and nonappealable.”

In one of his tweets, Sweeney said Epic sent a letter to Phil Schiller, an Apple executive, saying the company would adhere to all of the guidelines Apple has when Epic releases new products in the future in the App Store.

At the same time, though, Sweeney’s letter also said Fortnite would only go back to the App Store once Apple allowed app developers to place that alternative payment method link in the app.

While Rogers ruled in favor of Apple, she did allude that they engaged in tactics that were anti-competitive. She also issued an injunction that will force Apple to permit app developers to place a link in their app where people can use other payment methods

As a result of the judge’s ruling in the case, Epic was forced to pay Apple damages that total $6 million.