Oct 28, 2021: The Information’s Creator Economy Summit

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. Photo by Bloomberg
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Today’s Lessons in How Apple Wields Power

Photo: Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. Photo by Bloomberg

Apple’s legal battle with Tim Sweeney of Epic Games is turning into one of those off-putting television dramas where none of the characters are likable. Sweeney, in particular, is losing credibility by the day. After the court ruling on his antitrust case against Apple two weeks ago, he described the decision as a loss for developers and consumers and defiantly vowed not to return to the App Store unless Epic could offer its own in-app payments in its games. It turns out that a few days after making that statement, he was trying to get Apple to let him back in! He wrote to Apple saying he would resubmit Fortnite to the App Store if Apple followed the court order allowing users to be steered to alternative payment options. Oh, and he also asked Apple to reactivate Epic’s developer account.

Apple, not surprisingly, doesn’t feel merciful. The court backed Apple’s termination of its deal with Epic and, given Sweeney’s declaration about not returning, the company is now letting Sweeney twist in the wind. As the Epic CEO revealed on Twitter today, Apple told Epic it won’t consider reinstating Epic’s developer account until all appeals of the court ruling have been heard. As Sweeney said, that means “Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem” for as long as five years. 

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