From Martin Peer’s “The Briefing September 22, 2021” mailed Wednesday to The Information ($) subscribers:
Apple’s legal battle with Tim Sweeney of Epic Games is turning into one of those off-putting television dramas where none of the characters are likable. Sweeney, in particular, is losing credibility by the day. After the court ruling on his antitrust case against Apple two weeks ago, he described the decision as a loss for developers and consumers and defiantly vowed not to return to the App Store unless Epic could offer its own in-app payments in its games. It turns out that a few days after making that statement, he was trying to get Apple to let him back in!..
Apple, not surprisingly, doesn’t feel merciful. The court backed Apple’s termination of its deal with Epic and, given Sweeney’s declaration about not returning, the company is now letting Sweeney twist in the wind. As the Epic CEO revealed on Twitter today, Apple told Epic it won’t consider reinstating Epic’s developer account until all appeals of the court ruling have been heard. As Sweeney said, that means “Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem” for as long as five years.
In taking that stance, Apple comes off a little bit like the bully that, having successfully fought off a challenge to its authority, now grinds its foe’s body into the dirt with its foot. It’s not enough that Sweeney lost much of his battle to challenge the App Store rules: Apple wants Epic to suffer for years to come—in what could be read as a warning to anyone else thinking about challenging the iPhone maker’s rules.
While it’s hard to blame Apple for taking this position, given Sweeney’s needlessly provocative behavior, a smarter tactic might be to find a way to settle
My take: I read Apple’s position as “keep this in the courts and see where that gets you.”