Apple can continue blocking Fortnite from the App Store, judge says

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In the latest update in the ongoing battle between Apple and Epic Games, a California judge has ruled that the iPhone giant can continue to block Fortnite from its app store.

On Friday, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California refrained from granting Epic Games' request to reinstate its on the App Store ahead of its trial with Apple.

"The Court is unwilling to tilt the playing field in favor of one party or the other with an early ruling," Gonzalez Rogers said in court documents. That means current Fortnite players won't have access to any of the game's updates or new content on iOS devices until Apple and Fortnite have settled their grievances.

Apple and Epic Games have been battling each other since August after Apple blocked Fortnite from the iOS App Store, citing a payment disagreement. Fortnite added an in-app tool that allowed users to pay Epic Games directly, bypassing Apple's long-held rule that payments go through Apple.

The move, which was not approved by Apple, aimed to short-circuit Apple's practice of collecting 30% of in-app purchaserevenue.

Epic Games asked the courts for a preliminary injunction that would allow the app to continue to operate while the two companies awaited trial. Epic Games has argued that it is "likely to suffer irreparable harm" if the app isn't allowed back in the App Store. It has also called Apple a "monopolist."

The judges' latest ruling means that the App Store ban can stand in place for the duration of the trial which starts in May 2021. Apple has said it will allow Fortnite back in the App Store once Epic Games removes the in-app payment tool.

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