Fornite creator Epic Games is taking another stab at getting U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to bring the popular game back to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store, filing for a preliminary injunction that would also restore its developer account.
Revealing that roughly a third of Fortnite‘s registered players access the app through the iOS operating system, Epic argued it is “likely to suffer irreparable harm” in the absence of a preliminary injunction and that “the balance of harms tips sharply in Epic’s favor.” Daily active users have also plummeted more than 60% on iOS since the ban, while 63% of its overall user base accesses Fortnite only on iOS devices.
“Apple is a monopolist. It controls all app distribution on iOS. It controls all in-app payment processing for digital content on iOS. It unlawfully maintains these two monopolies by explicitly prohibiting any competitive entry in either market,” Epic said in the filing.
Background? On August 13, both Apple and Google banned access to Fortnite via their app stores after Epic attempted to bypass the 30% fee Apple and Google charge developers by introducing its own in-game payment system.
What’s next? Epic’s new filing comes ahead of a hearing scheduled for Sept. 28 on its broader case, which seeks an end to what it describes as anti-competitive conduct with how Apple operates its App Store.
It may be an uphill battle… “Apple has chosen to impose a 30% commission at the app-use level rather than extracting those revenues from the iPhone purchase,” said Paul Swanson, a Denver-based antitrust lawyer at Holland & Hart LLP. “I don’t think antitrust prohibits that choice any more than it would prohibit a club from imposing whatever cover charge it chooses and then charging whatever it wants for drinks within the club.”
I’m Shorting Apple As It Enters Its War On Developers, adds Damon Verial in a new SA article, saying the timing of this so-called war matches a highly overbought stock and a seasonal period of underperformance.