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Tim Sweeney: Epic Games will ‘fight on to victory, whatever it costs’ in Apple legal battle

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney is doubling down on his battle against Apple and the App Store. In a new interview with The Verge, Sweeney threatened to take the long-running lawsuit between Epic and Apple to the Supreme Court, while saying that “every politician should fear the rise of corporate power that Apple is creating.”

Apple and Epic have been engaged in a messy legal battle ever since the Fortnite creator added a backdoor to its iOS app to circumvent the App Store payment systems. Apple declared the original ruling a “resounding victory,” but both Apple and Epic Games are appealing the decision.

Speaking to The Verge, Sweeney reaffirmed that Epic Games plans to take the case “as far as possible and necessary to achieve victory,” something that includes taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Would he consider settling the lawsuit? Maybe, but he has steep demands:

Epic would settle for, and only for, unfettered ability of developers — it’s not just Epic but all the developers — to compete in the app distribution market. And freedom of developers and consumers to engage in direct distribution where consumers can download apps from the developer’s website, and the unfettered competition in payments for in-app purchases.

And all of that with no monopoly rents extracted from revenue generated by apps after they’re sold or downloaded for free from the App Store. In other words: eliminating all of the monopoly ties.

Sweeney argues that this is “how the iPhone should have been established when it was first released.” The iPhone, he says, should operate in the same way that macOS operates. “We are simply going to fight as long as it takes to get to what we’re asking for,” he explained. He also referred to this fight with Apple as “one of the things I’m most proud of in my whole 31 years in the gaming business.”

Also in the interview, Sweeney touched on the disagreements between Apple and Twitter in regard to the availability of Twitter in the App Store and, of course, App Store fees. In fact, Sweeney says that he believes Apple’s ability to remove an app like Twitter from the App Store is something “every politician should fear.”

I think it’s incredibly dangerous to allow the world’s most powerful corporation to decide who is allowed to say what. And right now, this is seen as a Republican issue because the tech companies are Democrat-leaning, and so Republicans fear that this control over speech that Apple imposes will hurt their political prospects. But if the tech companies were right-leaning — and now we have an example of one that appears to be in Twitter — everybody’s going to be afraid of it for the politically opposite reasons.

Liberals have every bit as much reason to be concerned about corporate control over speech as conservatives because if suddenly Apple found itself with a deeply conservative CEO who was on a power trip, it could just legislate that social media apps aren’t allowed to host speech by Democrats. Apple in its own claims of its rights under the antitrust law said it has the right to make those sorts of policy decisions. And so every politician should fear the rise of corporate power that Apple is creating. And the risk to America is far, far, far greater, five orders of magnitude greater than the amount of the political donations they’re making. They are really trying to buy off the American political system in a corrupt bargain to protect their marketing power and their ever-increasing profit stream earned at the expense of everybody who builds apps and content that’s consumed digitally.

The full interview with Tim Sweeney is worth a read and can be found over at The Verge. What do you think of his latest comments on Apple, the App Store, and Twitter? Let us know down in the comments.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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