We already reported that Apple refused to re-admit Fortnite to the South Korean App Store, despite stipulations in South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act that barred Apple from stopping Apple from retaliating against companies who wanted to use alternate payment systems such as Epic.
In a statement to MacRumors Apple said:
As we’ve said all along, we would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else. Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account.
Now Epic has confirmed the same decision applied to the US market also.
Late last night, Apple informed Epic that Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a 5-year process. pic.twitter.com/QCD7wogJef
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 22, 2021
Tim Sweeney tweeted the above letter from Apple, which says:
I am responding to your recent request that Apple reinstate Epic’s developer program account, which was terminated for cause last year. Epic committed an intentional breach of contract, and breach of trust, by concealing code from Apple and making related misrepresentations and omissions. In its decision, the court recognized that “Apple had contractual rights to act as it did. It merely enforced those rights as [Epic’s] own internal documents show Epic Games expected.” ECF No. 812 at 178-79. The court further found that “Apple’s termination of the [Developer Program License Agreement] and the related agreements between Epic Games and Apple was valid, lawful, and enforceable.” Id. at 179. Following that decision, Mr. Sweeney has publicly said that Epic “[wouldn’t trade [an alternative payment system] away to get Fortnite back on iOS.” In light of this and other statements since the court’s decision, coupled with Epic’s duplicitous conduct in the past, Apple has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program account at this time. Furthermore, Apple will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgment becomes final and nonappealable.
Sweeney has noted that the appeals process could take another 5 years to be exhausted.
It may turn out that, despite fighting the battle, Epic will not be able to take advantage of the wins they achieved.