There's more unfolding in the continuing saga between Apple and Epic Games. The latest chapter addresses Fortnite's removal from the App Store, as a California judge ruled that Apple could not be forced to put Epic's battle royale shooter back on the storefront.
According to Tech Crunch, Apple was within its rights to banish Fortnite from the App Store and the judge ruled that the company cannot be forced to reverse its course. This upholds a previous decision, in which Epic lawyers had sought an injunction against Fortnite's banning.
"Epic Games has strong arguments regarding Apple's exclusive distribution through the iOS App Store, and the in-app purchase ("IAP") system through which Apple takes 30% of certain IAP payments," reads the court filing. "However, given the limited record, Epic Games has not sufficiently addressed Apple’s counter arguments. The equities, addressed in the temporary restraining order, remain the same."
However, there is some good news for Epic. Apple had previously sought to terminate all of Epic's developer accounts. However, the judge ruled that Apple cannot take such retaliatory action.
Fortnite Mobile was removed from the App Store back in mid-August after Epic attempted to implement a direct payment option aimed at getting around Apple's exorbitant fees. A lawsuit against Apple was filed the next day. Fortnite Mobile was booted from Android devices shortly after it banned from the iOS ecosystem.
"Fast forward to 2020, and Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation," Epic stated in its original filing. "Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched, and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear. At a market cap of nearly $2 trillion, Apple's size and reach far exceeds that of any technology monopolist in history."
Apple and Epic are set to take this case to trial on May 3, 2021.