Today, Tim Sweeney confirmed on Twitter just how massive of an “L” Epic took in its recent trial against Apple. Apple has effectively “blacklisted” Fortnite from all Apple products until the legal clash between the two massive corporations reaches its conclusion, which could take as long as five years. (It’s even longer in Peely years.)
In the tweet, Sweeney posted a letter Epic had received from Apple confirming that Epic’s Apple developer account will not be reinstated, and that Epic cannot even request reinstatement until “the court’s judgement becomes final and unappealable.” That can take up to five years, according to Sweeney, who also claims that this is a renege on Apple’s previous position expressed to both the court and the press. However, given that Epic is currently trying to appeal the decision, I’d argue that Apple’s reticence to let it return to the platform makes perfect sense.
This letter reinforces the reality of this trial, that both Epic and Apple resoundingly lost. There was no court order to get Fortnite back on the store, and Apple lost its ability to refuse payments outside of its ecosystem. Both massive corporations lost, and all other developers will reap the rewards of Epic’s hubris.
To recap this whole, ridiculous situation, last year Apple disabled Epic Games’ developer account following a Fortnite update which allowed users to bypass the Apple ecosystem for in-app purchases. Epic undertook this gambit to avoid giving Apple its customary 30 percent cut of in-app purchase revenue. Epic then sued Apple because it claimed that its removal from Apple’s platforms was anti-competitive and unfair. Apple immediately filed a countersuit, claiming Epic had violated its contract with Apple. This then set the scene for an incredibly silly trial, and two own-goals from the power-hungry tech giants.
Sure, some people are upset they cannot play Fortnite on their iPhones, and that’s a bummer for them, but that does little to undercut the joy of watching companies mess up publicly, and even less to undercut the benefits it will confer to other developers. I can do little but hope this beautiful schadenfreude train will continue for a little longer as these two corporations publicly hit themselves in the face for the benefit of all other app developers.