Epic Games sues Apple after removal of ‘Fortnite’ game from App Store

Apple on Thursday removed the video game “Fortnite” from the App Store for blatantly violating the company’s in-app payment guidelines by enabling a direct payment feature within the “Fortnite” app. Epic Games has now initiated legal action against Apple.

Epic Games' Fortnite violated Apple's App Store guidelines
Epic Games’ Fortnite violated Apple’s App Store guidelines


“Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market,” Epic said in a statement.

Apple takes a cut of between 15% and 30% for most payments made inside apps, though there are some exceptions for companies that already have a credit card on file with iPhone customers if they also offer an in-app payment that would benefit Apple.

MacDailyNews Take: Hold on while we file a lawsuit claiming false imprisonment against the bank we tried and failed to rob this morning.

Apple earlier said in a statement:

Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.

Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem – including its tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.

As we wrote this morning:

You know, it costs money to run the App Store and the value Apple provides to developers of having a safe, secure, organized, curated App Store is actually quite significant.

Epic seems to want to enjoy all of the benefits of Apple’s App Store, including access to 1+ billion of the most affluent users for free. That is illogical, unfair, and, basically, theft, regardless of who gets the “savings.”

If there’s no deal between Apple and Epic for this “Epic direct payment” thing, Apple (and Google) should pull the game until it adheres to App Store rules.


  1. Maybe I should sue Apple for having the gall to sell me their iPhone, iPad, iMac, and a host of other devices and services at a profit. Why won’t they accept the “reality” that everybody should get everything for nothing???

    1. Maybe you should. You own your devices and they are artificially limiting what you can run.

      They don’t own Fortnight code either and there is no other store, which is impeded by Apple and no means for them to sell it to you other than Apple.

      Time for the antitrust hammer to fall!

  2. When a corporation gets big enough, they start gaining government-like power over their people, and need restrictions much like how we restrict government. There are only two cell-phone ecosystems that people can use. If you disagree with a rule that both have, you have no choice, but to not use phones. Freedom is not freedom if it is not realistic.

        1. So Epic — even though they have the option on Android to avoid the Google Play store altogether. — wants to leverage the customer reach, services and infrastructure of the Google Play store but doesn’t want to play by the rules established for that store.

          I’d like to sell my product through the Walmart website, or on Amazon, but would prefer to use my own payment system. Can I do that?

          1. Exactly. Epic is behaving like a door-to-door salesperson who stuck their foot in a door, is now attempting to push their entire body in, and wants the homeowner to pay for the privilege of them being inside. So… who’s really being greedy?

  3. “American Airlines’ removal of the vending machine I decided to install in the cabin of their aircraft is yet another example of American Airlines flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over selling meals on its airplanes,”

      1. No, they don’t own your phone, but they DO own the App Store. On what legal theory does a vendor have an enforcible right to force a retail store to carry their product? Operating a store involves managing “shelf” space and paying overhead expenses. if I own a clothing store, Ralph Lauren cannot (successfully) sue me to force Polo branded shirts onto my retail shelves free of cost.

        In capitalist countries, I am entitled to a cut of the sales price for items sold in my store. If you think it is OK for the government to force Apple to carry this company’s products without charging them for it, you would love living in Venezuela.

        1. I understand your complaint, although I do not agree. I think that a product manufacturer has the right to protect the user experience.

          However, opening iPhones to third-party app stores is not what the plaintiffs here are seeking. They are not complaining about the way Apple treats its customers, but about how it treats app developers who violate Apple’s rules.

          They are asking for injunctive relief and/or damages to force Apple to carry their app in the Apple App Store, even though it does not comply with Apple’s requirements. That is not just the top of a slippery slope to Apple losing any right to vet apps before placing them in the store. It is far down that slope.

          1. Apple is entitled to their rules on their property (within the law).

            The is no non-Apple recourse for Epic if they don’t wish to abide by those rules.

            Apples requirements is demanding a cut of in-app sales, to which Apple adds no value. And as far as it vetting of apps, there is no opt out for the customer either. Very much like a protection racket.

            1. Manufacturers who sell their products through Walmart, or on Amazon, can’t use their own payment processing system. Neither can movie producers who reach their audiences through Netflix. If I buy additional content beyond what’s included with Amazon Prime, I can’t pay the producer directly, I pay through Amazon. If I want to buy popcorn at a movie theatre or theme park, I can only buy from the operator. If I buy a drink at a Stadium, the vendor pays a royalty to the sports team and the venue. If I grab lunch at a food court, the restaurant has to use the trays provided by the mall, and pay a royalty to the franchise brand. If I want to produce a broadway show, I have to pay a fee and a royalty to the author to use their script and characters.

              Stores, shopping malls, and owners of intellectual property are generally allowed to establish their own business models. Platforms and app stores are bundles of venue, store, and a whole lot of IP.

            2. Except there is a value. One you’re ignoring and it’s the whole point of Epic’s suit. The value is the App Store and all the customers who use it. And this is true of Google also.

              And that is also proof that Apple (Google too) adds value. It furnishes the App Store as a venue for Epic to sell their apps and doing so is an expense for Apple.

              If that wasn’t a value to Epic, they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing.

              Epic doesn’t want to abide by rules (that haven’t changed btw) they agreed to.

              They clearly don’t want to pay for what they get.

    1. A stunningly bad analogy. Vending machines work fine without being on an airplane, and they aren’t why people fly. Also you don’t spend years locked into one aircraft before you can transfer to another. And there are a reasonable number of different airlines.

  4. “Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the App Store.”

    And Apple has been enriched by every iOS developer without iOS completion. On devices they don’t own and programs they don’t own.

  5. So I paid for my vehicle, pay my taxes and fees to register it and to have my license. But can choose how I want to modify it? LED headlight bulbs make it safer for me to drive at night. But my state say no and issues me a ticket and fail my inspection because I modified it, even though the bulbs are DOT approved. I can’t drive it as fast as I want to either, or put as much weight in the back of it either. So, is that antitrust or flexing over reaching authority??? There are certain rules you know when buying anything in life, and when you purchase it, you agree to those rules. You don’t agree don’t buy it. Epic could have chosen to not join the Apple App Store. But, instead agreed to the terms of being a developer.

  6. Let’s see, Apple removes the game and players lose out. Epic gouges the players and the players lose out. Either way the users are the ones that suffer. Now that really is a great outcome for both sides

  7. So is epic going to return all the money they made through the App Store since they decided to breach their contract? In any case, they ought not to be able to use the profits they made from Apple to pay their lawyers in a lawsuit against Apple… just saying.

  8. The other problem is that Apple can shut down your app any time they desire. If evil communist Chinese president Xi tells Tim Cook to shut you down, you get shut down. You KNOW Tim Cook will not hesitate to please the Chinese.

  9. Look, it’s very simple — the store is a privately owned business. They make the rules about how products are sold, updated and paid for.

    When the app manufacturers ask to sell in the store, they’re given a standard contract which they can agree or reject. Very straightforward. It’s the same contract every other app manufacturer gets, without variation, ensuring a level playing field for everyone. If they don’t like the terms, they don’t have to use the store. Fine.

    This is the fundamental truth which Epic Games are trying to circumvent. They’ve been happily providing their products to the store for a decade but now they’ve gotten greedy they resent the commission the store takes, breach their contract and got kicked out of the store.

    That’s not too terrible, after all there’s another store (Google Play Store), but they’ve been kicked out of that store for exactly the same behaviour.

    In a fit of tantrum, they’ve decided to sue both stores for exactly the same thing: upholding their end of the contract.

    No judge is likely to be sympathetic to Epic Games for agreeing to — and then breaching — a contract they have lawfully signed and agreed to. Being excluded from the store is entirely of their own making. Why should the court give them relief?

    Should they later wish to pursue antitrust cases against the stores, that’s a very different matter indeed. No doubt someone will remind them of the enormous costs of such an action depleting their apparently precious annual profits but may also hint at the words “Sideloading” and “Jailbreaking” (no matter how difficult to technically accomplish), to kill of that idea.

    It was almost inevitable that one day a company would accrue enough money from sales made in the Apple and Google Play stores to test the waters and see if there’s some wiggle-room. There isn’t, of course, and today, at least, Epic Games is the only fish out of those waters and gasping for revenue.

    It’s their Fortnite customers and players who are losing out in the meantime. They are unlikely to show much patience with the app manufacturers’ issues with the stores: they just want to keep playing and it’s hard to do that without in-app purchases for upgrades and virtual cash. The danger for Epic is that they’ll start haemorrhaging players fast — it’s my suspicion that’s what will force their hand to ignominiously return to the stores and abide by their standard contracts.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.