Epic Games CEO criticizes Apple's App Store policies in interview

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2020
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney in an interview Friday censured both Apple and Google for their respective app store policies, claiming the companies' tactics stunt innovation.




Sweeney, who appeared on CNBC's Squawk Alley, called Apple's App Store an "absolute monopoly," pointing to the tech giant's 30% cut of in-app purchases and transactions. The publisher's current hit, Fortnite, generates massive amounts of cash and is consistently a top performer on both the App Store and Google Play store.

"Apple has locked down and crippled the ecosystem by inventing an absolute monopoly on the distribution of software, on the monetization of software," Sweeney said. He later added, "If every developer could accept their own payments and avoid the 30% tax by Apple and Google we could pass the savings along to all our consumers and players would get a better deal on items. And you'd have economic competition."

The CEO further took issue with Apple's decision to bar third-party app stores, including the Epic Games Store, from iOS.

Epic's platform launched in 2018 on macOS and Windows as a cost-effective alternative to dominant app stores. Unlike the App Store, the Epic Games Store commands a 12% slice of sales, making it a more attractive option for developers.

"They are preventing an entire category of businesses and applications from being engulfed in their ecosystem by virtue of excluding competitors from each aspect of their business that they're protecting," Sweeney said of Apple.

Epic is forging ahead with plans to bring its store to Android, but Sweeney also dinged Google for erecting barriers similar to those employed by Apple.

"Google essentially intentionally stifles competing stores by having user interface barriers and obstruction," he said.

Sweeney has long bemoaned App Store fees. In 2017, the executive called app store business models "pretty unfair" and claimed companies like Apple are "pocketing a huge amount of profit from your order - and they aren't really doing much to help [developers] anymore."

Sweeney is one of many developers to present criticisms of App Store policies in recent weeks. Apple's app business is the target of multiple international probes, including a U.S. House antitrust investigation into big tech that also involves Amazon, Facebook and Google. CEOs from each company were slated to offer testimony at a hearing on Monday, though the inquiry has been rescheduled.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 104
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,396member
    "If every developer could accept their own payments and avoid the 30% tax by Apple and Google we could pass the savings along to all our consumers and players would get a better deal on items."

    A: This ignores the cost to the developers of setting up and running their own stores.
    B: No they wouldn't "pass the savings along". they'd pocket it. 

    This is  totally self serving and disingenuous statement by Sweeney.
    cflcardsfan80BeatschiaentropysleavingthebiggrolyScot1Rayz2016muthuk_vanalingamJinTech
  • Reply 2 of 104
    TheNubiTheNubi Posts: 19member
    DAalseth said:
    "If every developer could accept their own payments and avoid the 30% tax by Apple and Google we could pass the savings along to all our consumers and players would get a better deal on items."

    A: This ignores the cost to the developers of setting up and running their own stores.
    B: No they wouldn't "pass the savings along". they'd pocket it. 

    This is  totally self serving and disingenuous statement by Sweeney.
    A. Those that don’t want to incur the cost can still use Apple’s infrastructure and pay the fees. As it is now there is no choice. 
    B. You don’t know that. No one has had an opportunity to see if it would happen or not. Even if they pocket the difference it won’t make much difference to the user. 
  • Reply 3 of 104
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,007member
    Developers that whine about this policies really chaff my backside.  Absolute the most selfish, greedy, entitled people around.  Apple does all the work creating a groundbreaking new product, getting a loyal - and profitable - user base, and created an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of users at MINIMAL cost.

    Those users are Apple's users, not yours.  It's Apple's product, and their ecosystem.  Not yours.  You obviously were too young (or ignorant) about how us developers had to develop/market/sell/charge for software back in the pre-iPhone days.  Otherwise, you'd be thanking Apple for taking "only" 30%.  

    The reality is, Android is a mess, piracy and IP theft is rampant, and security is non-existent, and these blowholes want to force Apple to adopt such a system?  Good luck.
    MacQcpscooter63Beatschiaandrewj5790harrykatsarosDogpersonqwerty52macplusplusmontyburns
  • Reply 4 of 104
    sflocal said:
    Developers that whine about this policies really chaff my backside.  Absolute the most selfish, greedy, entitled people around.  Apple does all the work creating a groundbreaking new product, getting a loyal - and profitable - user base, and created an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of users at MINIMAL cost.

    Those users are Apple's users, not yours.  It's Apple's product, and their ecosystem.  Not yours.  You obviously were too young (or ignorant) about how us developers had to develop/market/sell/charge for software back in the pre-iPhone days.  Otherwise, you'd be thanking Apple for taking "only" 30%.  

    The reality is, Android is a mess, piracy and IP theft is rampant, and security is non-existent, and these blowholes want to force Apple to adopt such a system?  Good luck.
    Eh, this discussion again.

    I guess Apple didn't do all the work creating a groundbreaking new product (macOS), getting a loyal - and profitable - user base with macOS, and didn't create an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of macOS users at MINIMAL cost? If they did, how come you can buy macOS software without giving Apple a 30% cut?

    "Those users are Apple's users, not yours". I prefer to think of it this way: my iPhone is mine, not Apple's, and I should have a say if Apple gets a 30% cut on all software I purchase.

    Now, I'm the first person on the world to be against absolutely any kind of government intervention, but I'll be secretly smiling on the inside the day the US government tells Apple to open up the iOS ecosystem. And, trust me, they will.
    edited July 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 104
    MacQcMacQc Posts: 14member
    swineone said:
    sflocal said:
    Developers that whine about this policies really chaff my backside.  Absolute the most selfish, greedy, entitled people around.  Apple does all the work creating a groundbreaking new product, getting a loyal - and profitable - user base, and created an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of users at MINIMAL cost.

    Those users are Apple's users, not yours.  It's Apple's product, and their ecosystem.  Not yours.  You obviously were too young (or ignorant) about how us developers had to develop/market/sell/charge for software back in the pre-iPhone days.  Otherwise, you'd be thanking Apple for taking "only" 30%.  

    The reality is, Android is a mess, piracy and IP theft is rampant, and security is non-existent, and these blowholes want to force Apple to adopt such a system?  Good luck.
    Eh, this discussion again.

    I guess Apple didn't do all the work creating a groundbreaking new product (macOS), getting a loyal - and profitable - user base with macOS, and didn't create an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of macOS users at MINIMAL cost? If they did, how come you can buy macOS software without giving Apple a 30% cut?

    "Those users are Apple's users, not yours". I prefer to think of it this way: my iPhone is mine, not Apple's, and I should have a say if Apple gets a 30% cut on all software I purchase.

    Now, I'm the first person on the world to be against absolutely any kind of government intervention, but I'll be secretly smiling on the inside the day the US government tells Apple to open up the iOS ecosystem. And, trust me, they will.
    Ultimately courts will decide I suppose. It will take years and Apple may have changed their business model for apps since then. With Apple Silicon, they’ll probably merge the App Store and Mac Store. Then, they will need only one policy and they surely can’t apply the same policy for Mac apps than for iOS/iPad. So, should the time come a law decide for Apple to open their business model, the law will probably be obsolete. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 104
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,316member
     If every developer could accept their own payments and avoid the 30% tax by Apple and Google we could pass the savings along to all our consumers and players“

    If every gamer could avoid the 70% tax by game developers and pass the savings along to their parents and family. 
    BeatsentropyslkruppRayz2016andrewj5790qwerty52macplusplusmontyburnsdysamoriaaderutter
  • Reply 7 of 104
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Apple stunting innovation.... What a fu**ing joke.

    Also Epic Games has a monopoly on Epic Games Store.
    bloggerblogchialeavingthebiggDogpersonqwerty52dysamoriaStrangeDaysuraharaliqoricejdb8167
  • Reply 8 of 104
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 598member
    I am not a lawyer, but I was awake in my business law class in college,
    when we discussed the landmark AT&T case that defined monopoly.
    As I remember, one of the components that must be... a lack of choice,
    before a monopoly can exist. 

    How does a monopoly exist...
    If Epic Games chooses to decide which platform to develop on?
    How does a monopoly exist...
    When customers have a choice of which type of phone to purchase??

    It’s NOT a monopoly, just because this CEO says it is.
    Has his decision to develop for this platform been bad for Epic?
    If it has, maybe he should develop Epic Games for another platform?
    edited July 2020 rainmakerqwerty52chaickaStrangeDaysaderutteruraharaliqoricejony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 104
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,706member
    Apart from the fee, it must rankle that Apple limits what information about its users epic can mine.
    edited July 2020 BeatsDogpersonqwerty52chaickadysamoriauraharajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 104
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,362member
    swineone said:
    sflocal said:
    Developers that whine about this policies really chaff my backside.  Absolute the most selfish, greedy, entitled people around.  Apple does all the work creating a groundbreaking new product, getting a loyal - and profitable - user base, and created an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of users at MINIMAL cost.

    Those users are Apple's users, not yours.  It's Apple's product, and their ecosystem.  Not yours.  You obviously were too young (or ignorant) about how us developers had to develop/market/sell/charge for software back in the pre-iPhone days.  Otherwise, you'd be thanking Apple for taking "only" 30%.  

    The reality is, Android is a mess, piracy and IP theft is rampant, and security is non-existent, and these blowholes want to force Apple to adopt such a system?  Good luck.
    Eh, this discussion again.

    I guess Apple didn't do all the work creating a groundbreaking new product (macOS), getting a loyal - and profitable - user base with macOS, and didn't create an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of macOS users at MINIMAL cost? If they did, how come you can buy macOS software without giving Apple a 30% cut?

    "Those users are Apple's users, not yours". I prefer to think of it this way: my iPhone is mine, not Apple's, and I should have a say if Apple gets a 30% cut on all software I purchase.

    Now, I'm the first person on the world to be against absolutely any kind of government intervention, but I'll be secretly smiling on the inside the day the US government tells Apple to open up the iOS ecosystem. And, trust me, they will.
    You should have a say about Apple's cut of the appstore? Why the hell do you think you have that right? The cut they take is for hosting and managing the apps, and providing them with the most lucrative digital marketplace in the world with BILLIONS of users while taking care of everything from payments to updates. That's worth absolutely nothing to you?

    And what the hell do you mean by "open up"?
    Multiple appstores?
    Who manages and curates them?
    Does anything go? Porn, spam, etc?
    And what percentage of consumers do you think will WANT to use these alternate appstores?
    What percentage of developers do you think would actually get success from these alternate stores with a tiny userbase of user engagement?
    How the hell is this even a benefit to consumers?

    The very fucking reason the iPhone and the appstore became such a success is because of the trust it built up. Privacy, security, stability, etc. "opening up" provides zero benefit to 99.99% of consumers, while opening the doors for so much shit that can harm most consumers. 

    rainmakerrobabaRayz2016chiaBeatsDogpersonqwerty52macplusplusStrangeDaysaderutter
  • Reply 11 of 104
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,396member
    TheNubi said:
    DAalseth said:
    "If every developer could accept their own payments and avoid the 30% tax by Apple and Google we could pass the savings along to all our consumers and players would get a better deal on items."

    A: This ignores the cost to the developers of setting up and running their own stores.
    B: No they wouldn't "pass the savings along". they'd pocket it. 

    This is  totally self serving and disingenuous statement by Sweeney.

    B. You don’t know that. No one has had an opportunity to see if it would happen or not. Even if they pocket the difference it won’t make much difference to the user. 
    Oh yes I do.  
    First if each developer absorbed the overhead of setting up their own store it would cost at least as much if not more. Second if they went with another company to provide the storefront service, the cost would be roughly the same. Lastly if by some miracle Apple or someone else offered a digital storefront for free with no % cut for the cost, the developers would simply pocket the difference. Most developers work on thin margins and an extra 30% would be better plowed back into the business rather than dropping prices for likely no increase in sales. 

    The 30% would NEVER go back to the customers. 
    andrewj5790BeatsDogpersonqwerty52StrangeDaysaderutterliqoricejony0watto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 12 of 104
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,947member
    Beats said:
    Apple stunting innovation.... What a fu**ing joke.

    Also Epic Games has a monopoly on Epic Games Store.
    Also uses Fortnight as example of innovative and non-abusive monetisation.
    Beatsdysamoriawatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 13 of 104
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,706member
    Just curious, but what is the difference between wholesale and retail of a boxed set of software? 100% I suspect.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 104
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,259member
    sflocal said:
    Developers that whine about this policies really chaff my backside.  Absolute the most selfish, greedy, entitled people around.  Apple does all the work creating a groundbreaking new product, getting a loyal - and profitable - user base, and created an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of users at MINIMAL cost.
    Don't think that developers deserve some praise for the success of iOS / iPadOS devices?

    Those users are Apple's users, not yours.  It's Apple's product, and their ecosystem.  Not yours.  You obviously were too young (or ignorant) about how us developers had to develop/market/sell/charge for software back in the pre-iPhone days.  Otherwise, you'd be thanking Apple for taking "only" 30%.  

    The reality is, Android is a mess, piracy and IP theft is rampant, and security is non-existent, and these blowholes want to force Apple to adopt such a system?  Good luck.
    You are wrong here.  User / customers are shared between Apple and the developer.  What Apple has in their App Store is hard work from developers too, doesn't matter if it's inside the Apple ecosystem.  Maybe it's an Apple's device, but it's the developer app.
    edited July 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 104
    danvm said:
    sflocal said:
    Developers that whine about this policies really chaff my backside.  Absolute the most selfish, greedy, entitled people around.  Apple does all the work creating a groundbreaking new product, getting a loyal - and profitable - user base, and created an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of users at MINIMAL cost.
    Don't think that developers deserve some praise for the success of iOS / iPadOS devices?

    Those users are Apple's users, not yours.  It's Apple's product, and their ecosystem.  Not yours.  You obviously were too young (or ignorant) about how us developers had to develop/market/sell/charge for software back in the pre-iPhone days.  Otherwise, you'd be thanking Apple for taking "only" 30%.  

    The reality is, Android is a mess, piracy and IP theft is rampant, and security is non-existent, and these blowholes want to force Apple to adopt such a system?  Good luck.
    You are wrong here.  User / customers are shared between Apple and the developer.  What Apple has in their App Store is hard work from developers too, doesn't matter if it's inside the Apple ecosystem.  Maybe it's an Apple's device, but it's the developer app.
    Absolutely spot on. iPhones are ruling the high-end smartphone market, because of "Developers" creating high quality apps for the iOS platform. Their contribution CANNOT be washed away by anyone making silly claims.
  • Reply 16 of 104
    borpsborps Posts: 28member
    Hypocrite. Meanwhile Borderlands 3 was available for 6 months exclusively on their own store, and now you can get the PC version on Steam. The Mac version is only available on their Epic store, nowhere else. Discounts are crap there. Well Epic, f*ck right off from your high horse talking about app stores. 
    BeatsmacpluspluschaickadysamoriaStrangeDaysuraharachialiqoricejdb8167jony0
  • Reply 17 of 104
    harrykatsarosharrykatsaros Posts: 52unconfirmed, member
    DAalseth said:
    "If every developer could accept their own payments and avoid the 30% tax by Apple and Google we could pass the savings along to all our consumers and players would get a better deal on items."

    A: This ignores the cost to the developers of setting up and running their own stores.
    B: No they wouldn't "pass the savings along". they'd pocket it. 

    This is  totally self serving and disingenuous statement by Sweeney.
    Agreed. What an absolute load of BS!
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 104
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,018member
    Lack of imagination stunts innovation. Get your own storefront, asshole. 
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 104
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 868member
    danvm said:
    sflocal said:
    Developers that whine about this policies really chaff my backside.  Absolute the most selfish, greedy, entitled people around.  Apple does all the work creating a groundbreaking new product, getting a loyal - and profitable - user base, and created an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of users at MINIMAL cost.
    Don't think that developers deserve some praise for the success of iOS / iPadOS devices?

    Those users are Apple's users, not yours.  It's Apple's product, and their ecosystem.  Not yours.  You obviously were too young (or ignorant) about how us developers had to develop/market/sell/charge for software back in the pre-iPhone days.  Otherwise, you'd be thanking Apple for taking "only" 30%.  

    The reality is, Android is a mess, piracy and IP theft is rampant, and security is non-existent, and these blowholes want to force Apple to adopt such a system?  Good luck.
    You are wrong here.  User / customers are shared between Apple and the developer.  What Apple has in their App Store is hard work from developers too, doesn't matter if it's inside the Apple ecosystem.  Maybe it's an Apple's device, but it's the developer app.
    Absolutely spot on. iPhones are ruling the high-end smartphone market, because of "Developers" creating high quality apps for the iOS platform. Their contribution CANNOT be washed away by anyone making silly claims.
    Nothing spot on on that post (and yours). People buys iPhone because it's iPhone first and foremost, not because it runs this app and that app. People can find most apps on Android anyway.
    If you think iPhone depend greatly on your app why don't put your money where your mouth is? Pull your apps away from iPhone and see if users flock away, or you'll just leave space for other devs to fill.
    edited July 2020 StrangeDaysgeekmeejony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 104
    swineoneswineone Posts: 63member
    slurpy said:
    swineone said:
    sflocal said:
    Developers that whine about this policies really chaff my backside.  Absolute the most selfish, greedy, entitled people around.  Apple does all the work creating a groundbreaking new product, getting a loyal - and profitable - user base, and created an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of users at MINIMAL cost.

    Those users are Apple's users, not yours.  It's Apple's product, and their ecosystem.  Not yours.  You obviously were too young (or ignorant) about how us developers had to develop/market/sell/charge for software back in the pre-iPhone days.  Otherwise, you'd be thanking Apple for taking "only" 30%.  

    The reality is, Android is a mess, piracy and IP theft is rampant, and security is non-existent, and these blowholes want to force Apple to adopt such a system?  Good luck.
    Eh, this discussion again.

    I guess Apple didn't do all the work creating a groundbreaking new product (macOS), getting a loyal - and profitable - user base with macOS, and didn't create an ecosystem that allows anyone to develop software and have access to hundreds of millions of macOS users at MINIMAL cost? If they did, how come you can buy macOS software without giving Apple a 30% cut?

    "Those users are Apple's users, not yours". I prefer to think of it this way: my iPhone is mine, not Apple's, and I should have a say if Apple gets a 30% cut on all software I purchase.

    Now, I'm the first person on the world to be against absolutely any kind of government intervention, but I'll be secretly smiling on the inside the day the US government tells Apple to open up the iOS ecosystem. And, trust me, they will.
    You should have a say about Apple's cut of the appstore? Why the hell do you think you have that right? The cut they take is for hosting and managing the apps, and providing them with the most lucrative digital marketplace in the world with BILLIONS of users while taking care of everything from payments to updates. That's worth absolutely nothing to you?

    And what the hell do you mean by "open up"?
    Multiple appstores?
    Who manages and curates them?
    Does anything go? Porn, spam, etc?
    And what percentage of consumers do you think will WANT to use these alternate appstores?
    What percentage of developers do you think would actually get success from these alternate stores with a tiny userbase of user engagement?
    How the hell is this even a benefit to consumers?

    The very fucking reason the iPhone and the appstore became such a success is because of the trust it built up. Privacy, security, stability, etc. "opening up" provides zero benefit to 99.99% of consumers, while opening the doors for so much shit that can harm most consumers. 

    Yes I should have a say in how I install apps in MY hardware, that I paid for. Exactly like I do in macOS, something which I already argued and you conveniently ignored.

    I never asked Apple to host and manage the apps -- this is exactly like paying the mob for protection. Let developers do that and I just "sideload" these apps. Of course if a developer wants the convenience of having the app store for marketing. etc. and is willing to pay Apple a 30% cut, more power to them.

    What I mean by "open up"? Same thing you do with macOS. Go to the developer's website, click Download, the app installs. The current app store can coexist with this -- you know, exactly as it is on macOS today.

    Zero benefit to 99.99% of consumers? Pulling numbers out of your ass much?
    muthuk_vanalingam
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