Epic Games' lawsuit against Apple technically hasn't ended yet. At the moment, Epic is planning on appealing the court's decision that Apple is within its rights not to welcome Fortnite back on the App Store. Because the proverbial ball is now on Apple's court, Epic is trying to appeal to Apple directly and it appears to have failed, if Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney's statement on Twitter is to go by.
Fortnite might have just been banned on the App Store forever
After Epic decided to give Fortnite players on iOS devices alternative payment options that allowed Epic to circumvent the App Store's transaction fees, Apple dropped Fortnite from the App Store altogether. In response to this, Epic decided to sue Apple for, among other things, attempting to monopolize the market.
Earlier this September, a judge ruled in favor of Epic, effectively allowing developers to use what Epic did with Fortnite. However, the same judge also clarified that Epic failed to prove Apple's near-monopoly on the market. In addition to this, the Judge explained that Epic still needed to pay Apple for damages for trying to get around the company's in-app purchasing fees.
Epic has already filed an appeal to overturn the judge's decision, but in the meantime, Sweeney attempted to re-list Fortnite back on the App Store.
Just last week, Epic agreed with Apple that we would play by the same rules as everyone else. pic.twitter.com/WOxsbnAFXE
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 22, 2021
Sweeney took to Twitter to reveal the conversation that he had with Apple's legal team. The gist of the entire thread is that Apple does not want Fortnite back on the App Store. An Apple lawyer, Mark Perry, cites a combination of the court's decision and "Epic's duplicitous conduct in the past" as the main reasons for Apple's refusal to give Epic Games back its developer account. To make matters worse, Apple clarified that its stance is not going to change anytime soon. The only silver lining for Epic appears to be if the judgment "becomes final and non-appealable".
TLDR; Apple won't change its mind for as long as Epic Games' appeal stands or a decision has been made, which could take as long as five years.
Sweeney claims that he is making his correspondence from Apple public as proof that the company was lying to the court. He explained that Apple had already agreed to welcome Epic back to the App Store if the company agrees "to play by the same rules as everyone else." Sweeney clarified that this is what Epic has been trying to do so since the judge made its decision. He added that Epic has paid Apple $6 million and has since "disabled Epic payments server-side". This is all part of Epic's bid to have Apple reactive its developer account.
It doesn't take an expert to conclude that Apple is asking Epic to stop appealing the court's decision. By refusing to let Epic back in the App Store, Apple is retaining all the leverage that it has. It'll be interesting to see what comes of this and if it will indeed take as long as five years for us to hear about the results of Epic's appeal.