Following a dispute, yesterday Epic Games Inc. ("Epic") the creators of Fortnite, began offering customers a direct way to purchase items for the famed video game to circumvent Apple's fees when purchasing through the App Store.
Within hours, Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store with Google shortly following suit. Consequently, Epic has filed a lawsuit against Apple and Google. Epic is claiming that Apple's rule, which dictates that the majority of apps offer settlement through Apple's App Store is anti-competitive in itself, especially when considering Apple claims up to 30% of the revenue generated. As a result, yesterday, players who purchased from Epic directly benefitted from substantial discounts.
In a statement issued by Apple, it claims that Epic updated its game with the "express intent of violating the App Store guidelines". Apple asserts that Fortnite's significant success should be partly attributed to App Store as Epic "have benefitted from the App Store ecosystem" for a decade. The removal from the App Store results in Epic losing access to upward of a billion iPhone and iPad users. Even more so, sales through the Apple Store have generated upwards of $32 billion for Epic in the first half of 2020 alone. Google has followed suit and removed the game from the Google Store.
Epic CEO, Tim Sweeney, has openly supported scrutiny towards Apple stemming from Europe. This after the European Commission initiated antitrust proceedings investigating Apple's App Store practices. Moreover, Sweeny has publicly slammed Google, which holds similar policies to Apple. He has described the two companies as a "duopoly".
The lawsuit filed by Epic is not one which seeks monetary compensation but preferably one which aims to halt Apple's "illegal restraints". Hours later, Epic also filed a complaint against Google alleging anti-competitive behaviour.
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