Fortnite: Epic Games moves against Apple EU Commission – Digital


The developer of the world’s most successful video game took on the world’s most valuable corporation – and the EU Commission could play a decisive role in this dispute. Because Epic Games has filed a cartel complaint against Apple in Brussels. The Fortnite maker accuses the iPhone manufacturer of exploiting its control over the app store in an anti-competitive way and harming developers.

“This is where the future of mobile platforms is at stake,” said Epic boss Tim Sweeney. Users have the right to install apps from the source of their choice. Developers should be able to compete fairly. “We’re not going to stand by and allow Apple to play out its dominance.”

Epic is bothered by the fact that developers have to cede 30 percent commission to Apple if they generate sales in the app store. Fortnite itself is free, but if a player pays around ten euros for so-called in-game purchases, then three euros go to Apple. For developers who offer subscriptions or have less than a million dollars in annual revenue, the proportion drops to 15 percent.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can only get apps from Apple’s own store. Developers need to take advantage of this platform and use Apple’s payment system. Epic would like to offer an app store itself, collect lower commissions there and compete with Apple. The game developer says that Apple is abusing its monopoly on iOS devices with the strict rules, thereby violating EU competition law.

The conflict escalated in the summer

Apple considers this argument to be hypocritical. Epic is one of the most successful developers in the app store and has built a multi-billion dollar business with its help, says a spokesman. The Spieleschmiede have deliberately ignored Apple’s guidelines. “Their ruthless behavior exploits users as pawns, and we look forward to making this clear to the EU Commission.”

Apple is alluding to last summer, when Epic deliberately escalated the simmering conflict. The developer tried to bypass Apple’s payment system with a trick that clearly violated the rules of the app store. Apple then threw Fortnite out of the store, and the two companies covered themselves with allegations and lawsuits.

On the one hand, Epic, the Goliath of the game industry, poses as David in the fight against the giant Apple. On the other hand, the Fortnite maker allied itself with other Apple opponents such as Spotify and Tinder, who also want to shake the rules and the commission of the app store. This “Coalition for App Fairness” could be dangerous for Apple. Finally, Apple also offers its own music streaming service Apple Music in the App Store, which, unlike Spotify, does not have to pay any commission. That is why the EU Commission is already investigating, and EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager made it clear that she could understand Spotify’s position.

Antitrust law has so far been more of a threat to Apple’s competitors such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook. That could change in 2021. The portal The information reports that Facebook is also preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple.

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