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Apple has denied Fortnite's request to be reinstated in the App Store



Apple will not allow Fortnite to be re-installed on its devices until its legal battle with the video game's creator, Epic Games, has been resolved in full, which could result in the game's re-installation on iPhones being delayed by several years.


Following a request from Epic Games to have its developer program account reinstated, an Apple lawyer stated that the company "has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic's developer program account at this time." The letter was sent to Epic's lawyer and later shared on Twitter by the company's CEO, Tim Sweeney, who said it was sent on Wednesday.


In addition, the letter from Apple's lawyer, which was provided to CNN Business by Epic, stated that the company would not consider any requests for reinstatement until the district court's judgment became final and non-appealable.


In addition, the move escalates a months-long legal battle between the two companies over Apple's App Store rules, and it suggests that the hugely popular game will not be re-released on iOS devices until the conclusion of an appeals process. In a tweet, Sweeney stated that the process could take up to five years to complete.


Earlier this month, a federal judge in California ruled that Apple can no longer prohibit app developers from directing users to payment options that are not available through the App Store. The judge, however, refrained from declaring the iPhone maker to be in possession of a monopoly and held that the company was within its rights to remove Fortnite from its devices. Epic has filed an appeal against the decision.


Apple initially removed Fortnite from the App Store in August of last year for violating its rules on in-app payments on the iPhone by providing users with an alternate method of payment. Epic Games responded to the removal by filing what appeared to be a premeditated lawsuit against the company.


Epic argued that the App Store constituted a monopoly because it is the only way to reach hundreds of millions of iPhone users, and that Apple harmed competition by prohibiting the use of other app stores or payment methods on its devices. The trial, which lasted most of May, was a contentious one in which Epic was victorious. Apple responded by pointing out that the iPhone is just one of several devices on which Fortnite players can play the game and purchase V-bucks, including Android smartphones (Epic is fighting a similar lawsuit against Google), video game consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox, many of which also don't allow alternative payment methods and charge similar commissions as the iPhone does.


According to Sweeney, in a series of tweets on Wednesday, Apple had engaged in "another extraordinary anticompetitive move," and he implied that the company had gone back on its word.


The CEO cited earlier statements in which Apple stated that it would welcome Epic back if the company agreed to follow the same rules as everyone else on the App Store. "Apple lied," he declared. In another abuse of Apple's monopoly power over a billion users, Epic agreed, and now Apple has gone back on its word.


According to a CNN Business report, an Apple spokesperson declined to comment on Sweeney's tweets, but instead directed the news organization to portions of the court decision where the judge ruled in favor of Apple.


It is "not particularly surprising, nor necessarily nefarious," the judge wrote, that Apple does not negotiate terms on a general basis with its more than 30 million registered iOS developers.


Epic CEO Tim Sweeney promised on Wednesday that the company will continue to put pressure on Apple.


"We're going to fight," he wrote on Twitter. "Now more than ever, the need for regulatory and legislative action is crystal clear," says the author.

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