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Apple escalates legal battle with Epic Games, seeking damages

Apple escalates legal battle with Epic Games, seeking damages
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Apple is now seeking damages from Epic Games over an alleged breach of contract in an escalation of the legal battle between the two companies.

In a filing Tuesday, the Silicon Valley giant asked the court to hold Epic Games liable for the alleged breach and for restitution of all money "Fortnite" collected through its payment system.

"Epic’s lawsuit is nothing more than a basic disagreement over money,” Apple said in the filing in the District Court for the Northern District of California. “Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store.”

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Epic Games first sued Apple in August after "Fortnite," a wildly popular free online game, was removed from the App Store for implementing a payment system that circumvented Apple's.

Apple requires developers that use its platform to also use Apple's payment methods, which give the tech giant a 30 percent cut of all in-app revenue, the only way Epic makes money. In some rare cases, the fee is 15 percent.

Apple argued in Tuesday's filing that Epic Games' feature allowing iOS users to pick whether to make in-app purchases through the App Store or from Epic directly blindsided it.

″Unbeknownst to Apple, Epic had been busy enlisting a legion of lawyers, publicists, and technicians to orchestrate a sneak assault on the App Store," the filing reads. 

"Shortly after 2:00 a.m. on August 13, 2020, the morning on which Epic would activate its hidden commission-theft functionality, Mr. Sweeney again emailed Apple executives, declaring that ‘Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions.’”

Apple said in the filing that Epic Games has earned more than $600 million through the App Store.

The game developer has argued in court filings that Apple is harming competition with its App Store practices and has asked for a preliminary injunction that would restore "Fortnite" to the App store.

A hearing is currently scheduled for later this month.