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Fortnite’s maker said it will suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if Apple cuts it off to smartphone users

August 17, 2020, 8:01 PM UTC

Epic Games asked a California federal court to immediately block Apple’s removal of Fortnite from its app store days after suing the iPhone maker and Google in what promises to be a blockbuster antitrust fight.

Epic also asked the court to stop Apple from terminating its developer account on Aug. 28 and cutting off the game maker off from iOS and Mac development tools. Epic said it will probably suffer irreparable harm if the court doesn’t order the Fortnite game app to be made available to smartphone users.

“The court cannot, on today’s motion, level the playing field against Apple,” Epic’s lawyers wrote in a court filing Monday. “But the court can order that while its practices are being litigated, Apple cannot retaliate by blocking Fortnite and tools for the Unreal Engine and harm the hundreds of millions who — especially in this time of social distancing — use Epic’s software to play, build and stay connected.”

The disagreement stems from a longstanding Apple App Store rule saying most apps must offer billing through Apple and pay the company 30% of revenue. On Thursday morning, Epic began offering customers a way to directly buy items for Fortnite and circumvent the fees. Hours later, Apple pulled the app, and Google followed suit later in the day.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.