Court documents filed by Epic Games claim the company has been damaged by Apple’s control over the App Store despite its own breach of contract, and calls for “arbitrary” review rulings.
Source: Epic Games
In one of the final stages before the Apple vs. Epic dispute went to trial in May, Apple and developer “Fortnite” filed a “Findings of Fact and Findings of Law” document with the Northern District of California. Epic’s 365-page submission exposes the company’s case against Apple regarding the App Store.
Epic’s document, released to the public in a slightly redacted form, is divided into nearly a dozen sections, each of which focuses on a different element of the dispute. However, most of these sections retrace the history of the dispute and the specific arguments boil down to two elements.
Epic Games claims that Apple operates the App Store for business reasons rather than for genuine security reasons. And Epic claims it has been and continues to be damaged by the way Apple operates its store.
iOS is not macOS
At the heart of the game developer’s case, Apple says it needs to operate the App Store the way it does, especially to keep iOS secure. Epic points out, in detail, that Apple also claims macOS is highly secure – and doesn’t force developers to sell only through the Mac App Store.
Apple’s choice to make the App Store the exclusive means of distributing iOS applications was a business decision; there was no need to ensure the security of the iOS ecosystem.
Notably, Apple made a different business decision on the macOS operating system, which runs on Apple Mac computers. On macOS, Apple allows developers to distribute their apps outside of Apple’s own app store. macOS is an open platform model that Apple itself has called secure in the world – a place where users can download apps from the App Store or other sources “worry-free”.
The security of iOS is primarily derived from the operating system itself and the hardware it runs on. Indeed, iOS was modeled on macOS and inherited many of its main architectural features. But iOS offers even more robust operating system-based security mechanisms. Apple could easily implement security features to support open distribution on iOS without restricting app distribution to the App Store, as it does with macOS.
Epic is also targeting Apple’s oft-repeated claim that its app review process is robust and fair. Developer “Fortnite” says this argument is pretext or questionable.
Apple points out its app review process and claims that there are security benefits to moving all apps through the app review process, but it’s pretext. Apple’s app review process does little to secure iOS devices. It’s superficial and has always lagged behind the state of the art in terms of using the automated tools needed for robust security checks. Many apps that should have been rejected under Apple’s own guidelines were approved, and apps that should have been approved were rejected. Developers faced an inefficient and opaque application review process riddled with arbitrary decisions and errors associated with poor customer service.
Additionally, the manual portion of Apple’s app review process primarily examines non-security issues, including specifically for anti-competitive purposes. For example, Apple used the app review process to dismiss competitive threats even when apps met Apple’s guidelines in effect at the time. And Apple has used App Review to favor its own apps over competing third-party apps to the detriment of consumers and developers.
Source: Epic Games
Epic Games continues to be damaged by Apple
Other developers have reportedly discovered that being featured by Apple in promotions such as “Game of the Day” can increase downloads by up to 800%. Epic Games, however, claims these promotions “had limited marketing value” and also led to repeated leaks from Apple.
“Apple’s marketing team has created a lot of problems for Epic,” the file says. It lists “multiple occasions” and highlights the launch of “Fortnite Chapter 2”, which is said to be the “biggest update to the game since its initial launch”.
In October 2019, Mike Schmid, Apple Business Development Manager responsible for Fortnite, reached out to Mark Rein, Vice President of Epic, requesting assets in advance to support a promotion for the upcoming Fortnite Chapter 2 launch. , the biggest update to the game since its inception. launch.
Because Epic was planning a surprise Chapter 2 release, Schmid has repeatedly assured Epic that he will take personal responsibility for making sure Apple doesn’t disclose the concept. Despite these assurances, Apple leaked the Fortnite Chapter 2 artwork ahead of the planned launch, spoiling the surprise for Fortnite players across all platforms.
Epic also says it had been forced to “devote a lot of time and engineering resources” to keep up with “the evolution of Apple’s development rules.” For example, he claims to have spent “over a year” updating “Fortnite” to run on iOS 12 and Xcode 11.
Epic Games knew Apple could remove “Fortnite”
It has already been revealed that rather than being surprised by Apple’s – and Google’s – decision to remove “Fortnite” from the App Store, Epic Games has it planned. The new court record confirms this, but also details why the company felt the move was necessary.
“Epic understood that Apple could respond to the introduction of a competing payment solution by removing Fortnite from the App Store,” he continues. “But Epic also considered it essential to demonstrate through public action that competition for payment solutions could exist on iOS and that there would be strong consumer demand for such competing options.”
In essence, then, Epic Games intentionally implemented so much of the store idea into a store that it had failed to persuade Apple to adopt.
Unreal Engine is developed by Epic Games, but used by countless games and even TV companies
The court document suggests that Epic Games might have been more surprised by Apple’s decision to shut down all of its developer accounts. Until a federal judge stops Apple from doing so, it also reportedly plans to take down Unreal Engine, the platform that Epic Games created but used by countless other developers.
“The loss of Unreal Engine’s ability to support these important platforms would cause irreparable damage to Epic’s product offerings, as many developers would choose a competing engine for their new projects or for future versions of their products. games ”, indicates the file. “Third-party developers who rely on Epic’s engine and support would risk losing long-term support for Epic and its Unreal Engine tools for use with Apple devices.”
Epic Games, Inc, against Apple, Inc, goes to a jury trial before Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers on May 3. Epic Games, Inc, v Apple, Inc, to trial before Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, May 3 Judge Rogers has a limited in-person presence due to coronavirus concerns.
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