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Apple countersues Fortnite maker in bitter legal dispute

Tech giant says Epic Games is masquerading as ‘modern Robin Hood’ in payment row

Apple has countersued Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite. Photograph: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Apple has countersued Epic Games and accused it of masquerading as a “modern corporate Robin Hood”, marking a new escalation in the tech giant’s bitter legal feud with the maker of the popular Fortnite game.

It is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from Epic, claiming breach of contract, and asking the court to bar the use of “unauthorised” in-app payment mechanisms in all of Epic’s apps, including Fortnite.

The iPhone maker said in a court filing that Epic has portrayed itself as a champion fighting on behalf of all developers, but in reality was seeking “free access” to Apple’s development tools so it could then create its own paid-for services.

“Epic’s intention is thus straightforward: it seeks free access to the Apple-provided tools that it uses and – worse yet – it wishes to then charge others for access to Apple’s intellectual property and technologies,” Apple said in a filing in California federal court.

The dispute started a month ago when Fortnite introduced its own payment mechanism that circumvented Apple’s 30 per cent fee for in-app purchases. Apple responded by banning Fortnite, the popular battle game, from its App Store. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020

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