Epic files motion for injunction against Apple over threat to revoke all developer access

After taking a stand against Apple’s hefty cut of the money developers make through the App Store, Fortnite maker Epic Games shows no signs of backing down. The company filed a motion for an injunction against Apple in the U.S. District Court for California’s Northern District on Monday after it received a letter notifying Epic that its developer accounts and access to developer tools would be cut off at the end of next week.

In the injunction motion, Epic accuses Apple of “retaliation” and reasserts its mission to disrupt what it views as Apple’s monopoly over its mobile software market. The company cites concerns that Apple’s actions against its developer access will damage its business beyond Fortnite, particularly its work on Unreal Engine, the prominent game engine it licenses to third party software makers.

“[Apple] told Epic that by August 28, Apple will cut off Epic’s access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple’s platforms—including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy,” the motion states.

“Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas. Epic is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims, but without an injunction, Epic will be irreparably harmed long before final judgment comes.”

Epic ran afoul of both Apple and Google’s policies last week when it added a discounted direct payment option into its apps, essentially creating a workaround for Fortnite players to make purchases in the game without an intermediary. Knowing that Apple would act quickly to pull Fortnite from the Apple Store for violating its rules, Epic had a PR campaign against the tech giant prepared, launching an antitrust suit and a Fortnite-themed spoof on Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial shortly after the news broke.

When reached by TechCrunch, Apple did not provide additional comment on the latest development, pointing us back to its prior statement that the company will “make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations” and to get Fortnite back in the App Store.

Update: Apple provided a new statement on the Epic Games situation on Monday night:

The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users and a great business opportunity for all developers. Epic has been one of the most successful developers on the App Store, growing into a multibillion dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world. We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and their apps on the Store. The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers. We won’t make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers.

The full text of Epic’s injunction request to block Apple’s actions is available here.