Epic Games seeks preliminary injunction over Apple's removal of Fortnite from App Store
CNBC’s Josh Lipton reports that Epic Games is asking the court to stop Apple’s retaliation after the gaming company launched an in-payment system that stepped around Apple’s app store rules. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for access to investor and analyst insights on Apple and more: https://cnb.cx/3dIH56N

Epic Games said on Monday that Apple has threatened to revoke its developer account, meaning Epic will no longer be able to make apps for the App Store, the only way for consumers to install software on an iPhone.

The escalation comes the week after Epic Games, makers of the popular Fortnite video game, released a new direct payment mechanism inside the game designed to bypass the App Store’s payment system, from which Apple takes 30%. Apple then removed Fortnite from the App Store, saying Fortnite violated its rules, and Epic Games sued it in an attempt to force it to change its business practices.

Epic is one of several companies currently engaged in high-profile disputes over Apple’s control of the App Store and its 30% fee. Spotify, Match Group, and Facebook have all publicly criticized Apple’s App Store policies recently. Congress probed Apple CEO Tim Cook in a hearing in July about the App Store’s fees and policies.

Epic Games said on Monday that Apple had given it until August 28 before removing the game makers’ developer accounts, which would make it unable to release new games or publish updates to its current apps. Currently, Epic Games publishes one game on the U.S. App Store, a puzzle game called Battle Breakers.

Epic Games also makes the Unreal Engine, software which many iPhone and Android games use to integrate realistic graphics and physics. In its filing, Epic says that Apple’s move to remove its developer accounts represents an “existential threat” to Unreal Engine.

“Then when Epic sued Apple to break its monopoly on app stores and in-app payments, Apple retaliated ferociously,” Epic Games lawyers wrote in a Monday filing. “It told Epic that by August 28, Apple will cut off Epic’s access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple’s platforms — including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy.”

Epic Games is claiming that Apple is “attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas.” It’s seeking an injunction that will “preserve status quo” and permit the company to continue to sell apps, including Fortnite, on the App Store.

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