A federal judge in California tossed a pair of Apple’s counterclaims against “Fortnite” maker Epic Games in the high-stakes legal battle over Apple’s App Store fees.
Apple and Epic have been at odds since August, when the developer’s popular battle royale-style game “Fortnite” was booted from the App Store after introducing an in-app payment system which would have allowed it to dodge the 30-percent cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases.
The iPhone maker had asked for “restitution and disgorgement of all earnings, profits, compensation, benefits, and other ill-gotten gains obtained by Epic as a result of its conduct,” a claim that judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers viewed as a bridge too far.
”This is a high-stakes breach of contract case and an antitrust case and that’s all in my view,” the judge said, according to Bloomberg, telling Apple’s lawyer that “You can’t just say it’s independently wrongful — You actually have to have facts.”
A judge in October had ruled that Apple could bar Epic’s “Fortnite” game from its App Store but must not harm Epic’s developer tools business, including the “Unreal Engine” software, which is used by hundreds of other video games.
The closely watched saga could have ripple effects across the app ecosystem. The App Store is the only way to get apps onto Apple’s phones and iPads.
Epic’s battle has drawn the support of other high-profile appmakers, including Tinder parent company Match Group and music streamer Spotify.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment, but told Bloomberg that it disagreed with the judge’s decision, adding that it was clear that Epic breached its contract with the company.
With Post wires.
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