Epic CEO: Apple won't let Fortnite back until case ends

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Fortnite maker Epic Games Inc., said Wednesday it’s been told by Apple that the game will be “blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem” until the companies’ legal case is resolved and all appeals are exhausted, which could take as long as five years.

Sweeney posted on Twitter that Epic has asked Apple to reinstate Fortnite and promised “that it will adhere to Apple's guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple's platforms.”

“Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d ‘welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else.' Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users,” Sweeney tweeted.

A representative for Apple did not immediately respond to a message for comment.

Earlier this month, the federal judge overseeing the companies' legal scuffle ordered Apple to dismantle a lucrative part of the competitive barricade guarding its closely run iPhone app store, but rejected allegations that the company has been running an illegal monopoly that stifles competition and innovation. But U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers didn’t brand Apple as a monopolist or require it to allow competing stores to offer apps for iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Epic is appealing the decision.

Epic had claimed that Apple has been gouging app makers by charging commissions ranging from 15% to 30% for in-app transactions because it forbids other options on its iPhone, iPad and iPod.

When Epic tried to evade the commissions with an alternative payment system in Fortnite last August, Apple ousted it from the app store to set up a legal showdown that could force it to lower its fees. But Apple has insisted that the commissions are a reasonable toll paid by a minority of the 1.8 million apps in its store to help cover the more than $100 billion it has invested in mobile software.

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