Apple Blocks Fortnite from App Store Indefinitely

Fortnite will likely remain off the App Store for at least five years.
Fortnite will likely remain off the App Store for at least five years. / SOPA Images/Getty Images

The first ruling in the lawsuit between Epic Games and Apple has allowed Apple to block Fortnite from its App Store for the foreseeable future, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney says tech giant will do just that until the appeals process has been seen through to its natural end.

"Apple lied," Sweeney tweeted Wednesday. "Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d 'welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else'. Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users."

According to Sweeney, this decision from Apple would keep Fortnite off of iOS and Mac platforms for up to five years — however long the appeals process takes.

Epic Games has appealed the court's ruling in its lawsuit against Apple, but Sweeney assured Apple Fellow Phil Schiller it would "adhere to Apple's guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple platforms," in an email Sweeney tweeted Wednesday. Epic hoped to receive access to its developer account, which Apple suspended last year at the outset of the legal battle between the two companies.

Apple has declined to restore that access.

"In light of this and other statements since the court’s decision, coupled with Epic’s duplicitous conduct in the past, Apple has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program at this time,” Apple lawyer Mark A. Perry wrote in an email to Epic Games and published by Sweeney on Wednesday. “Furthermore, Apple will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgement becomes final and nonappealable.”

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California handed down her judgment in the case Sept. 10, issuing a permanent injunction that forced Apple to allow App Store developers to send users to payment systems outside of the App Store ecosystem. Although this was a small victory for Epic, the judge also ruled Apple doesn't have an illegal monopoly on "mobile gaming transactions," somewhat protecting it from larger anti-trust inquiries.

Epic was also made to pay Apple 30% of the $12.1 million in from V-Buck sales from August to October 2020, plus 30% of the amount it made from the Epic Direct Payment scheme that kicked off this lawsuit.