In the dispute with Epic Games over in-app purchases, Apple is sharpening its tone: the Fortnite maker is stealing from Apple "Clearly identifiable sums of money to this day", as the iPhone company argues in a court filing – one must therefore be able to enforce civil claims against such behavior. Epic’s hidden introduction of an "unauthorized external payment system" rob Apple of "daily increasing amounts".
Apple: claiming ownership of in-app revenue
The casus knacksus: Epic secretly brought its own payment interface into Fortnite – a violation of Apple’s rules.
One had a "Claim of ownership" on revenue generated by in-app purchases from iOS users, Apple writes in its submission (Epic Games vs. Apple, Case No. 4:20-cv-05640, US District Court, Northern District of California) Digital content in iOS apps must be available for purchase through Apple’s In app purchase (IAP) interface; other payment systems are not allowed. Apple can thus retain up to 30 percent commission from each purchase. Several companies are now up in arms about this requirement and the size of the commission.
Fortnite can no longer be downloaded to iPhones and iPads after Apple’s App Store ejection, but can still be played if it is already installed. The latest version of the app includes an option to buy the game currency V-Bucks directly from Epic Games in parallel with Apple’s in-app payment interface, bypassing Apple’s 30 percent commission – players can still take advantage of this. Epic’s sneaky integration of the hidden direct payment option had originally triggered the dispute.
Epic to integrate its own payment interface
Epic’s lawsuit seeks to require Apple and Google to allow alternative payment systems in apps for their platforms. However, the attempt to be allowed back into the App Store with its own payment interface via a temporary injunction failed.
At the same time, Apple was forbidden from hindering the development of Epic’s Unreal Engine – the iPhone manufacturer had argued in vain that the game engine was a threat and could be used by Epic as a "tool" "Trojan horse" will be used. Apple sees itself swapped by Epic’s actions and is now also claiming damages.