April 21, 2021

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Apple has accused Epic Games of mounting a carefully planned public relations campaign in a bid to set up its own payment system and app store on the iOS platform. 

It claims the Fortnite-maker hired PR companies two years ago to develop a strategy called “Project Library” aimed at portraying Apple “as the bad guy.” 

“Epic carefully prepared to launch a media campaign against Apple,” the document alleges. “The battle begins. It’s going to be fun,” an email from an Epic Games employee quoted in the document reads.

It comes after Epic sued Apple last year in a federal court in California, alleging that the so-called 15 to 30pc “app tax” Apple charges developers on its App Store gives it gives it control over which apps can be installed on its devices.

 The dispute arose after Epic tried to implement its own in-app payment system in the popular “Fortnite” game and Apple subsequently banned the game from its App Store.

Apple  presented a California federal judge this morning with a road map of how it will push back against Epic in a high-stakes antitrust fight over how much the App Store charges developers.

The filing comes ahead of a May 3 trial before the judge with no jury.

In a summary of its legal arguments, Apple contends the commission it charges developers isn’t anti-competitive as it’s a standard fee charged by online and mobile app platforms.

Epic wants no restrictions on apps, whether on technology or content, accessed through the App Store, Apple said in its filing. But Epic overlooks the benefits of Apple’s app review process such as controlling malware attacks on the iOS platform that have helped developers and consumers, Apple said.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney are among company executives that will testify at trial. Both companies have also engaged a small army of economists to lay out their positions to the judge.

For Apple, this countersuit is about defending its position as a fair provider of apps. Epic Games, however, claims it’s abusing that position to bully developers into handing it cash. 

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