For over two years, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has been targeting Apple’s control over its digital marketplace. Using the latest App Store price increase, Sweeney criticized the tech giant for oppressing small businesses who have to comply with the unjustified price hike because they have nowhere else to go.
In September, Apple announced an increase in App Store prices in regions that use Euro currency like Chile, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, Vietnam, and others. The company said that the change in prices is due to the prevailing decline in the Euro’s value against the U.S. dollar.
But unconvinced by the company’s reason, Sweeney said that the price hike was evidence of Apple’s monopoly pricing power because prices are never discussed with developers and the company “unilaterally” sets the price in all regions. Now, his criticism has gotten a bit harsher.
Apple is a “landlord” taking advantage of tenants who have nowhere else to go, accuses Epic Games CEO
In his latest statement, Sweeney went on to compare Apple to an oppressive or exploitative landlord who is taking unfair advantage of helpless small businesses that have no other choice but to comply with its policies.
Imagine if a landlord told their small business tenant they had to increase their prices without any say in the matter or anywhere else to go. That is what Apple is doing to developers for no other reason than to pad Apple’s bottom line. They are unilaterally imposing a price increase on developers across multiple countries without any justification. Developers don’t have a choice but to comply because the App Store is the only way they can reach over a billion iOS users.
In 2020, Apple and Epic Games had a very contentious and public fallout. Unsatisfied with the App Store policy of charging a 30% commission for all in-app purchases and Apple’s rejection of permitting sideloading on iOS, Sweeney took the matters to court. Although the outcome was not what he had expected, he became the voice against Apple backed by DoJ, Microsoft, and others.
Since then, he has never missed a chance to call out the tech giant. Previously, he accused the Cupertino tech giant of complying with oppressive foreign laws and demanded a universal app store.
Currently, both parties are engaged in the lengthy appeals process; Epic Games alleges that the court made errors in its ruling and Apple argues that Epic Games’ accusations are “unfounded” and “unprecedented”. Their trial is set to being on October 21, 2022, in which the U.S DoJ officials will also speak from Epic’s side.