After filing lawsuits and complaints against Apple in the United States, UK, and Australia, Fortnite app’s developer, Epic Games has gone to the EU. The developer’s EU antitrust complaint states that Apple’s anti-competitive behavior has lead to the elimination of the competitors’ in-app distribution and payment methods. Thus, the iPhone maker’s anti-competitive practices violate EU competition law. Apple is already facing EU antitrust investigation, along with other Silicon Valley tech giants: Facebook, Amazon, and Google.
The complaint, filed with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, alleges that through a series of carefully designed anti-competitive restrictions, Apple has not just harmed but completely eliminated competition in app distribution and payment processes. Apple uses its control of the iOS ecosystem to benefit itself while blocking competitors and its conduct is an abuse of a dominant position and in breach of EU competition law.
The conflict between Epic Games and Apple began when the developer released a controversial direct payment update of the Fortnite app on iOS and Andriod which allowed players to discounted in-app purchases by cutting off the platforms’ 30% commission. After being blocked, the Fortnite developer immediately filed lawsuits against Apple and Google, and now it’s preparing for the settlement of the case via jury trial in July.
Epic Games takes battle with Apple to European Union Antitrust Commission
In a recent interview, CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney confessed that troubled by a 30% commission rate for a long time, his company had devised its action plan against Apple months before releasing the direct payment update on Fortnite. In the announcement post, the CEO says that Apple should relinquish its control of the App Store. It seems like Sweeney wants to use Apple’s platform, which has been very lucrative for the company but does not want to pay for the service.
“What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms.” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said today. “Consumers have the right to install apps from sources of their choosing and developers have the right to compete in a fair marketplace. We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field. It’s bad for consumers, who are paying inflated prices due to the complete lack of competition among stores and in-app payment processing. And it’s bad for developers, whose very livelihoods often hinge on Apple’s complete discretion as to who to allow on the iOS platform, and on which terms.”
Claiming to be fighting for users’ freedom, Epic is asking the EU Commission to regulate Apple’s anti-competitive practices.
This is much bigger than Epic versus Apple – it goes to the heart of whether consumers and developers can do business together directly on mobile platforms or are forced to use monopoly channels against their wishes and interests. Epic has asked the Commission to address Apple’s anti-competitive conduct by imposing timely and effective remedies. Epic is not seeking damages from Apple, as is the case in the US, Australia and the UK. It is simply seeking fair access and competition that will benefit consumers and developers.
Although Epic Games accuses Apple of barring iOS users from playing the Fortnite app, that is not entirely true. The Fortnite app is only removed from the App Store and can still be accessed via Apple’s web browser, Safari via Nvidia. In addition, players can also use Sign-in-with Apple indefinitely and were given V-bucks to spend on other platforms.
Do you agree with Epic’s claims? Let us know in the comments.