Speaking at the Global Conference for Mobile Application Ecosystem Fairness in South Korea, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney used the opportunity to bash its nemesis Apple and Apple’s alleged partner in the controlling mobile apps market, Google. Supporting the new South Korean law, Sweeney said that Apple and Google have created a duopoly that must be broken and called for a universal app store that supports all operating systems.
Earlier this year, South Korea become the first county to prohibit Apple and Google from forcing developers to use their app stores’ payment systems only and allowed developers to offer alternative payment. And these are the exact terms Sweeney had fought Apple for but was denied by the U.S court. The court’s ruling in Epic Games vs. Apple case not only found Epic Games in violation of its contract but also gave Apple the right to bar the developer from relaunching Fortnite battle royale game on iOS in South Korea.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney calls Google “crazy” and says “Apple must be stopped”
Expressing his discontent with Apple and Google, Sweeney accused the Cupertino tech giant of complying by “oppressive” foreign laws (presumably China’s) but ignoring democratic laws like South Korea’s.
“Apple locks a billion users into one store and payment processor,” he said. “Now Apple complies with oppressive foreign laws, which surveil users and deprive them of political rights. But Apple is ignoring laws passed by Korea’s democracy. Apple must be stopped.”
He also attacked Google’s new changes to Play Store’s payment methods in compliance with the new law which will allow developers to add links to alternative payment systems but will also charge a reduced fee for using its service. And that is what earned the company Mr. Sweeney wrath.
Google also earned a strong rebuke from Sweeney, who criticized its approach of charging fees on payments it doesn’t process as “crazy.” Praising Korea for leading the fight against monopolistic practices and including anti-retaliation provisions to protect developers in its legislation, the Epic Games founder said “I’m very proud to stand up against these monopolies with you. I’m proud to stand with you and say I’m a Korean.”
Bloomberg reports that Epic Games CEO proposed the creation of a universal app store to end Apple’s and Google’s duopoly.
“What the world really needs now is a single store that works with all platforms,” Sweeney said in an interview in Seoul on Tuesday. “Right now software ownership is fragmented between the iOS App Store, the Android Google Play marketplace, different stores on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch, and then Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store.” Epic is working with developers and service providers to create a system that would allow users “to buy software in one place, knowing that they’d have it on all devices and all platforms.”