Court awards Epic preliminary injunction against ApplePlatforms: All
Apple and Epic Games are set to face off in court next year over the Fortnite payment dispute but that does not mean all is quiet on the western front, Epic is still volleying shots Apple’s way, trying to push the courts to force Apple into adding Fortnite back to the App Store and ensure the iOS giant cannot further penalise the company by terminating their Developer Program account.
The Developer Program gives Unreal Engine developers access to the latest iOS tools, ensuring their game engine is up to date and compatible with the latest iOS updates, and losing that account would be potentially catastrophic for Epic as games developers would likely seek out iOS compatible engines for their titles rather than lose out on the huge audience that iOS users bring. The courts issued a temporary restraining order against Apple back in August to protect the Unreal Engine account from retaliation.
While Epic failed to convince Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that Fortnite should be returned to the App Store, she did agree that Epic had sufficiently proven that Apple's response, in regards to the Developers Program, were "retaliatory" in nature.
Apple didn't challenge this claim, but did argue that this was a standard response, and continued to push the point that all harm was self-inflicted. Apple went on to suggest that leaving Epic with access to the Developers Program could lead go them adding a "secret code" into the Unreal Engine and other affiliated Epic apps. Rogers remained unconvinced and upgraded Epic's temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction, as per this court document.
This court order states that Apple cannot take further action against Epic by “restricting, suspending or terminating the Epic Affiliates from the Apple's Developer Program.” The order injunction will remain in place until the larger case is settled.
The trial begins on 3rd May 2021, with a pre-trial hearing on 19th October.