Apple and Google booted "Fortnite" off their respective stores last week after Epic Games attempted to find a way around their app commission fees by offering a direct payment system to users. Apple then removed Epic Games' other apps from its store and issued a court filing Friday accusing the game maker of stealing.
Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney wrote the tech giant "asking for a 'side letter' from Apple that would create a special deal for only Epic that would fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform," according to tech news website TechCrunch.
Sweeny denied the allegation in a Friday tweet.
"Apple's statement is misleading," he wrote, along with a screenshot of his email to Apple. "You can read my email in Apple's filing, which is publicly available. I specifically said in Epic's request to the Apple execs, 'We hope that Apple will also make these options equally available to all iOS developers.'"
He added that Epic Games hopes "Apple will reflect on its platform restrictions and begin to make historic changes that bring to the world's billion iOS consumers the rights and freedoms enjoyed on the world's leading open computing platforms including Windows and macOS."
Apple presented emails from Epic in its court filing to show the gamemaker had asked the tech giant for a deal to avoid paying its 30% App Store commission fee. The Google Play Store, Amazon App Store and Samsung Galaxy Store also charge a 30% commission; the Microsoft Store charges 30% on games.
“Epic knew full well that, in circumventing Apple’s processes and breaching its contracts, it was putting its entire relationship with Apple -- including its Unreal Engine and other projects -- at serious risk," lawyers for Apple said in the filing. "Epic made the calculated decision to breach anyway, and then run to this court to argue that its customers were being damaged."
Epic Games is hosting a “#FreeFortnite” event on Sunday to protest Apple's legal action.
A number of big tech companies that share apps on the App Store including Epic Games, Facebook and Microsoft have criticized the iPhone developer for unfair or restrictive practices, but Apple has defended its policies.