Apple and Epic Head to Court Over Their Slices of the App Pie

One Friday last August, Tim Sweeney, a billionaire game developer, sent an email to a contact at Microsoft: “You’ll enjoy the upcoming fireworks show.”

A week later, Mr. Sweeney’s game Fortnite delivered good news to players on iPhones: They would get a discount on items in the game if they completed the purchases outside Apple’s payment systems.

The change violated Apple’s rules and cut the iPhone maker off from collecting a commission on one of the world’s most popular games. Hours later, Apple kicked Fortnite off the App Store.

Mr. Sweeney’s company, Epic Games, immediately sued Apple in federal court. It also began a public-relations broadside that was months in the works, complete with a trending #FreeFortnite hashtag…

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