Monday, August 24, 2020

Microsoft Supports Epic’s Injunction

Joe Rossignol (also Hacker News):

In a court filing [PDF] today, Epic Games said that multiple Unreal Engine licensees have contacted the company “expressing grave concern over Apple’s actions and its impact on their iOS and macOS-bound projects,” including Microsoft.

In a declaration in support of Epic Games [PDF], Microsoft gaming executive Kevin Gammill wrote that “Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers.” Specifically, Gammill said that games utilizing Unreal Engine will be put at a “substantial disadvantage,” citing Microsoft’s own racing game Forza Street for iPhone and iPad as an example.

Florian Mueller:

However, what Mr. Gammill’s declaration doesn’t explain is why Epic couldn’t live and comply with the Apple Developer Agreement it had been gladly and (very) profitably honoring for years. In that case, Epic’s Apple Developer Agreement wouldn’t be terminated, and the further development of the Unreal Engine wouldn’t be affected by the ongoing litigation.


Based on today’s declaration it’s clear where Microsoft stands, and it’s not hard to figure out why, but the above declaration really doesn’t strengthen Epic’s case for a TRO. The key issue is still the one of “self-inflicted wounds,” which the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit doesn’t accept as a pretext for seeking a TRO.

Michael Love:

An arrangement where Epic can’t thumb their nose at the [App Store Review Guidelines] but also doesn’t get to take a bunch of other developers hostage while the case plays out is probably a best-case outcome for Apple from tomorrow’s hearing, but Microsoft legally backing Epic is a big deal long-term.


Microsoft is mostly not a game company; the good that opening up iOS would do them vastly exceeds a bit of lost commission from Xbox games.

Also, xCloud is currently not allowed on iOS at all - if anything, a favorable ruling for Epic would increase their revenues from that.


Update (2020-08-25): John Gruber:

This doesn’t contradict my prediction that you won’t see Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo file amicus briefs on Epic’s behalf about the App Store’s control over software and mandatory use Apple’s payment system. If Apple hadn’t threatened to revoke the developer program license for Unreal Engine, Microsoft wouldn’t have piped in here.

See also: Hacker News.

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