Tech giant Apple has told Epic Games that it will not allow Fortnite back onto the iOS or macOS App Stores until the outcome of the lawsuit between the two is finalized.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney shared communications between the two sides, in which Apple said it won’t consider reinstating Epic’s developer program account “until the district court’s judgment becomes final and non-appealable”.

Apple yanked Fortnite from the iOS App Store in August last year after Epic added an alternative payment method to bypass the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases, Engadget reported on Wednesday.

Epic swiftly filed a lawsuit against Apple over App Store policies (it sued Google around the same time for similar reasons). The Apple case went to trial in May.

Earlier this month, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in Apple’s favor on most counts, but there was one win for Epic.

The judge issued a permanent injunction instructing Apple to let App Store developers direct users to alternative payment systems, the report said.

Epic appealed the ruling, and Apple has yet to decide whether to do so. The injunction is set to take effect on December 9, it added.

Given how long it can take to resolve appeals through the various levels of the court system, Sweeney said it could take five years until the case is truly over and Fortnite is back on the App Store.

He also accused Apple of going back on its word.

Apple has said that “we would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else”.

On Twitter, Sweeney shared an email he sent to App Store head Phil Schiller on last Thursday, stating that Epic would abide by those rules.

“Though we can’t update the Fortnite version that users still have on their iOS devices, we’ve disabled Epic payments server-side and have paid Apple $6 million as ordered by the court,” Sweeney wrote in the email.

“Epic promises that it will adhere to Apple’s guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple platforms,” he added.

He mentioned that Epic would restore Fortnite on Mac as soon as possible if Apple restored the developer account.

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