'Fortnite' firm Epic Games planned Apple App Store dispute for months

Posted:
in General Discussion
Tim Sweeney, CEO of "Fortnite" developer Epic Games, says he spent months planning "Project Liberty" before launching his fight against Apple's App Store rules.

A still from Epic's parody of Apple's '1984' Super Bowl commercial
A still from Epic's parody of Apple's '1984' Super Bowl commercial


The now long-running App Store dispute between Apple and Epic Games, maker of hit app Fortnite, was said to begin in August 2020. That was when Apple pulled the game for violating App Store rules, and Epic Games immediately ran a prepared "1984" ad parody. However, it's only now that the amount of planning that went into the dispute has been revealed.

According to CNN Business, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has said that his company spent months on the battle plan. Alongside the parody video, the company pre-prepared a 60-page lawsuit, and also christened the whole endeavor as "Project Liberty."

"Epic's frustration with Apple especially, and Google to some extent, had been building up for at least three years," Sweeney told CNN Business. "Ever since Fortnite grew to have a large audience, we felt stifled by several things."

"I grew up in a time in which anybody could make software," he continued. Referring to his old Apple II computer behind him in the CNN video interview, he said that it was from a time when anyone could program.

"You turn it on and it comes up with a programming language prompt," he said. "So I felt all along that open platforms are the key to free markets and the future of computing."

Reportedly, Sweeney says that this is what the dispute with Apple is really about -- free markets -- instead of just not wanting Apple or Google to take its 30% cut. Sweeney is also willing to invest heavily to pursue what he describes as an attempt to change the whole software industry.

"We're still a highly independent company who's not beholden to public markets in which we have to show ever-increasing profits," he said. "And anything like a fight like this [with Apple and Google], which loses us money for a year or more, would never be tolerated. So we have the financial independence to do that."

Tim Sweeney
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney discusses App Store policy with CNBC in July. | Source: CNBC


Sweeney would not reveal what the dispute is costing in terms of legal fees, or of lost sales through the App Store and Google Play. However, he did say that the dispute with Apple was costing "lots and lots" of senior leadership time.

"Epic's problem is entirely self-inflicted and is in their power to resolve," Apple told CNN Business in a statement. "Epic has been one of the most successful developers on the App Store, growing into a multibillion dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world."

"We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and their apps on the Store," continued Apple.

Google also responded saying that it would "welcome the opportunity" to resume talks about bringing "Fortnite" back to the Google Play store. But also, Epic wants Apple to ensure that it has "consistent policies that are fair to developers."

The dispute between Apple and Epic Games will go to trial in May 2021.
jahblade
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,396member
    Sigh. More survivorship bias-reinforced promotion of the so-called “free market” myth, from a guy either already privileged at day one (I honestly can’t be bothered to investigate his start) or lucky in business dealings. “Everyone can [insert success subject here]” and “hard work” blah blah blah...

    So sick of the laissez-faire capitalism rhetoric from people who get to such a level of success that they decide they need more success, more profit, and therefore turn to claiming that the market just isn’t free enough... for them. So let’s throw an army of lawyers and insincere marketing at harming the company that brings them a good chunk of their income.

    Astroturfing. Propaganda. Whining. The wealthiest of the wealthy, wasting society’s resources to kick and bite each other while both defending & crying foul at the economic system that made them wealthy (and is screwing the rest of us), just because they want an even bigger piece of the pie...

    Apple isn’t immune to my ire, but this Tim Sweeney crap is so far off the mark of reasonableness and into self-entitlement that I absolutely cannot stand him. He is the epitome of what happens when antisocial tech geeks with no sense of perspective get some power via money and corporate muscle.
    edited February 10 JapheyOferapplguymac_dogFidonet127tenthousandthingsroundaboutnowplanetary paulmuthuk_vanalingamGG1
  • Reply 2 of 26
    Hi I‘m joe every-man and I‘m fighting for you!
    Look at me in my humble clothing and austere office - i‘m just like you, because I‘m fighting for you, dear friend!!1

    Meanwhile the real Tim Sweeny has a net worth of approximately 5.5 Billion, for comparison that‘s roughly 5x that of Tim Cook.

    OferlolliverFidonet127roundaboutnowGG1argonautmarklarkmacplusplusBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 26
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,011member
    It is the Reagan version of the little red hen.

    Once upon a time there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered some grains of wheat. She called her neighbors and said 'If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?'

    "Not I, " said the cow 

    "Not I," said the duck.

    "Not I," said the pig.

     "Not I," said the goose.

     "Then I will," said the little red hen. And she did. The wheat grew tall and ripened into golden grain. "Who will help me reap my wheat?" asked the little red hen.

    "Not I," said the duck.

     "Out of my classification," said the pig.

     "I'd lose my seniority," said the cow.

     "I'd lose my unemployment compensation," said the goose.

     "Then I will," said the little red hen, and she did. At last the time came to bake the bread. "Who will help me bake bread?" asked the little red hen.

     "That would be overtime for me," said the cow.

     "I'd lose my welfare benefits," said the duck.

     "I'm a dropout and never learned how," said the pig.

     "If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination," said the goose.

     "Then I will," said the little red hen.

     She baked five loaves and held them up for the neighbors to see.

    They all wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the little red hen said, "No, I can eat the five loaves myself."

     "Excess profits," cried the cow.

     "Capitalist leech," screamed the duck.

     "I demand equal rights," yelled the goose.

     And the pig just grunted.

     And they painted "unfair" picket signs and marched round and around the little red hen shouting obscenities.

     When the government agent came, he said to the little red hen, "You must not be greedy."

     "But I earned the bread," said the little red hen.

     "Exactly," said the agent. "That's the wonderful free enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations productive workers must divide their products with the idle."

     And they lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, "I am grateful, I am grateful." But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked any more bread.

    applguyFidonet127d_2marklarkuraharaapres587watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 26
    entropys said:
    It is the Reagan version of the little red hen.
    Right. I'm simply astounded at how we managed to survive without cars, clothes, appliances, medicine, entertainment, or even food! All back in the bad dark ages (1910's - 1970's) when the top marginal income tax rates were at 60%, 70%, 80%, and even 90%!

    I mean, just think all of the things we did without when no one had any incentive to create or build or make anything at all.......

    /s
    Dogpersoncitylightsapplejahblade
  • Reply 5 of 26
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,011member
    Right HM. There was no economic stagnation in the seventies. Got it.
    marklarkuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 26
    I'd love to know what Sweeney thought would happen after launching his crusade. Is everything unfolding according to plan? Better than expected? Worse? 
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 26
    gc_ukgc_uk Posts: 113member
    dysamoria said:
    Sigh. More survivorship bias-reinforced promotion of the so-called “free market” myth, from a guy either already privileged at day one (I honestly can’t be bothered to investigate his start) or lucky in business dealings. “Everyone can [insert success subject here]” and “hard work” blah blah blah...
    So you're basing your opinion on something you don't know is true or not, and you can't be bothered finding out?  Brilliant logic.
    marklarkuraharaTRAG
  • Reply 8 of 26
    gc_ukgc_uk Posts: 113member

    entropys said:
    It is the Reagan version of the little red hen.

     "Exactly," said the agent. "That's the wonderful free enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations productive workers must divide their products with the idle."

     And they lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, "I am grateful, I am grateful." But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked any more bread.

    Except in this case the Little Red Hen is willing to provide the garden, and the grain, but can't sell bread to the neighbours because "government regulation" aka "Apple" say they can only grow grain in Apple's garden.
    marklark
  • Reply 9 of 26
    blastdoor said:
    I'd love to know what Sweeney thought would happen after launching his crusade. Is everything unfolding according to plan? Better than expected? Worse? 
    Who knows?  I think he might have been surprised that the judge told his council that his own behavior has damaged Epic by violating the terms of the contract Epic has with Apple. 
    The judge told Epic that they could put things back the way they were with in app purchases and still go forward with the lawsuit, but idiot Sweeney refused thinking that he will get more traction with the general public agreeing with him that Apple is unfair and so far it doesn’t look like it’s working. 
    marklarkBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 26
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,372member
    entropys said:

    Modern conservatives seem to be deeply weird and out of touch with reality.
    gc_ukwilliamlondonmattinozcitylightsappleargonautjahbladeTRAGwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 26
    gc_ukgc_uk Posts: 113member
    chasm said:
    entropys said:

    Modern conservatives seem to be deeply weird and out of touch with reality.
    Also so funny to watch them arguing against free markets and consumers freedom to choose. 
    jahblade
  • Reply 12 of 26
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,252member
    entropys said:
    Right HM. There was no economic stagnation in the seventies. Got it.
    And that was all to do with marginal tax rates that had been in place for many years through boom and bust times, and totally unrelated to global oil price shocks and the collapse of the Bretton Woods system through poorly applied anti-inflationary policy.  Got it.
    hmlongcoargonauturahara
  • Reply 13 of 26
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,828member
    Loved this part:

    "We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and their apps on the Store," continued Apple."

    I wonder if there was a wry smile in the mind of whoever said/wrote that. 


    muthuk_vanalingamargonautmarklark
  • Reply 14 of 26
    entropys said:
    Right HM. There was no economic stagnation in the seventies. Got it.
    As someone else pointed out, our issues in the '70s (which I was here for) were primarily due to economic issues surrounding gas and oil shortages and pricing (and not to mention a small war in SE Asia). Regardless, you simply changed subjects since, as my post indicated, we DID in fact have cars, clothes, appliances, medicine, entertainment, and even food across those decades, despite having high marginal income tax rates throughout all of the boom/bust cycles. Obviously someone had the incentive to do something...

    I think you need to get on the phone right now and tell the Getty's, Astor's, Walton's, Ford's, Buffett's and many, many, many others that they shouldn't even exist, since they had no real economic incentive to create or build or accomplish anything.
    edited February 11 jahblade
  • Reply 15 of 26
    d_2d_2 Posts: 97member
    gc_uk said:

    entropys said:
    It is the Reagan version of the little red hen.

     "Exactly," said the agent. "That's the wonderful free enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations productive workers must divide their products with the idle."

     And they lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, "I am grateful, I am grateful." But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked any more bread.

    Except in this case the Little Red Hen is willing to provide the garden, and the grain, but can't sell bread to the neighbours because "government regulation" aka "Apple" say they can only grow grain in Apple's garden.
    There are plenty of “gardens” for Epic to “grow grain” in - Apple, Google, web, PlayStation, XBox, Nintendo ... and Epic has plenty of $$ to also try and develop and their own “garden”.
    marklarkjahbladeuraharaBeatswatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 16 of 26
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,282member
    d_2 said:
    gc_uk said:
    Except in this case the Little Red Hen is willing to provide the garden, and the grain, but can't sell bread to the neighbours because "government regulation" aka "Apple" say they can only grow grain in Apple's garden.
    There are plenty of “gardens” for Epic to “grow grain” in - Apple, Google, web, PlayStation, XBox, Nintendo ... and Epic has plenty of $$ to also try and develop and their own “garden”.
    But, but, but... Apple's garden has some of the best "crop" yield.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 26
    gc_ukgc_uk Posts: 113member
    d_2 said:
    There are plenty of “gardens” for Epic to “grow grain” in - Apple, Google, web, PlayStation, XBox, Nintendo
    Epic do provide stores on those different platforms. What makes Apple so special they don't have to allow the same?
    d_2 said:
    and Epic has plenty of $$ to also try and develop and their own “garden”.
    They did, and it got them excluded from the Apple ecosystem.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    gc_ukgc_uk Posts: 113member
    rob55 said:
    But, but, but... Apple's garden has some of the best "crop" yield.
    Does it? But Apple customers are excluded from finding out if they want to buy the crop because Apple controls their choices for them.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    gc_uk said:
    chasm said:
    entropys said:

    Modern conservatives seem to be deeply weird and out of touch with reality.
    Also so funny to watch them arguing against free markets and consumers freedom to choose. 
    You must be one of those people who thinks that developers should receive all the freedoms and companies that make phones have no freedoms at all to determine the conditions for developers. Right?

    Indeed, it's directly BECAUSE of freedoms that I support Apple's rights to install restrictions on developers who want to sell apps on APPLE'S OS. It's not the developer's OS, or the consumer's. It's Apple's.

    The only way I would agree to remove Apple's freedoms to install restrictions is if Apple became a legal monopoly for selling smartphones. Then you will have my support.
    edited February 12 watto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 20 of 26
    gc_ukgc_uk Posts: 113member
    You must be one of those people who thinks that developers should receive all the freedoms and companies that make phones have no freedoms at all to determine the conditions for developers. Right?
    You must be one of those people who make unfounded claims to try and attack people with opinions you don't like because you don't have a decent argument against their position.
    Indeed, it's directly BECAUSE of freedoms that I support Apple's rights to install restrictions on developers who want to sell apps on APPLE'S OS. It's not the developer's OS, or the consumer's. It's Apple's.
    See, you can't even take the time to understand my position before you start to attack it. I have no problem with Apple choosing whatever rules it likes to decide who should be allowed to sell apps on their App Store. It's their App Store. It's not their phone though, it's mine.

    The only way I would agree to remove Apple's freedoms to install restrictions is if Apple became a legal monopoly for selling smartphones. Then you will have my support.
    You mean if Apple can restrict which store I can buy and install apps from so I can only buy from theirs? That kind of monopoly?
    edited February 12
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