Apple pulls Fortnite from App Store for sidestepping commission fee [ux2]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Popular battle royale game Fortnite has been removed from the App Store after the company violated Apple's decade-old guidelines.

Apple pulls Fortnite from App Store for sidestepping commission fee


On Thursday, Epic announced that they would allow iOS and Android customers to purchase in-game Fortnite items and V-bucks directly, rather than paying through Apple as an in-app purchase.

They further incentivized customers to pay them directly by offering discounts up to 20 percent for those who did not buy through Apple. The move allowed Epic to sidestep Apple's 30 percent commission fee.






Less than eight hours after the announcement, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, citing that Epic had violated the decade-old App Store terms and conditions. Apple has issued a statement regarding the situation.
"Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services."
The statement continues:
"Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem - including it's (sic) tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we're glad they've built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store."
Epic has long been critical of Apple's 30 percent digital commission fee, calling it an "absolute monopoly."

Companies like Epic and Apple Music rival Spotify are not the only ones concerned about Apple's App Store practices. The U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general begun launching an antitrust investigation into Apple's App Store after developers continue to raise concerns over anticompetitive behavior.

In June, the European Union antitrust authorities officially launched two investigations into Apple, specifically surrounding the App Store and with Apple Pay.

Update: In response to Fortnite being removed from the App Store, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of unfair business practices.

Update 2: Google on Thursday followed Apple's lead and booted Fortnite off the Play Store for violating policies related to in-app payments. The Android version of the game is still available for download from Epic and other outlets. Epic has not responded to Google's decision.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Well, at the very least this is getting interesting. 

    I’m curious why Epic chose now as the time to offer processing payments themselves and not, say, 5 years ago. 
    macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 31
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,278member
    If the top 100 apps that have a 30% tax applied to their subscriptions all pulled their apps together and made a joint statement to lower the Apple Tax, Apple  would have to compitulate. Apple would drop in stock price immediately and lose tens of billions of market cap. 
  • Reply 3 of 31
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,095member
    If the top 100 apps that have a 30% tax applied to their subscriptions all pulled their apps together and made a joint statement to lower the Apple Tax, Apple  would have to compitulate. Apple would drop in stock price immediately and lose tens of billions of market cap. 
    No, Apple would kick out all those 100 apps and substitute them with Apple branded ones ! Those 100 apps have more than 100 competitors each who would gladly sell their software to Apple !...
    BeatsaderutterwonkothesanemwhitedewmelolliverFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 4 of 31
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,908member
    YES. Fu** them real good!

    Well, at the very least this is getting interesting. 

    I’m curious why Epic chose now as the time to offer processing payments themselves and not, say, 5 years ago. 

    All the tenants are protesting for free rent. They're doing stupid sh**.
    wonkothesanechasmlolliverh2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 31
    Update: In response to Fortnite being removed from the App Store, Epic games says it is now filing a lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of unfair business practices.
    That confirms that this whole thing is a publicity stunt by Epic. 
    aderutterBeatsmwhitechasmGabymacxpresslolliverFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 31
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,908member
    If the top 100 apps that have a 30% tax applied to their subscriptions all pulled their apps together and made a joint statement to lower the Apple Tax, Apple  would have to compitulate. Apple would drop in stock price immediately and lose tens of billions of market cap. 

    This is so stupid. Why should all developers demand their own terms on Apple's store?

    If the top 100 apps that have a 30% tax applied to their subscriptions all pulled their apps together and made a joint statement to lower the Apple Tax, Apple  would have to compitulate. Apple would drop in stock price immediately and lose tens of billions of market cap. 
    No, Apple would kick out all those 100 apps and substitute them with Apple branded ones ! Those 100 apps have more than 100 competitors each who would gladly sell their software to Apple !...

    I want this so bad. Developers are really poking a sleeping bear.
    aderutterlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 31
    Good luck with that.
    chasmlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 31

    ihatescreennames said: I’m curious why Epic chose now as the time to offer processing payments themselves and not, say, 5 years ago. 
    The House Hearings. I would guess that they're doing it for effect and know that they have no real court case.
    GabylolliverFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,955member
    If the top 100 apps that have a 30% tax applied to their subscriptions all pulled their apps together and made a joint statement to lower the Apple Tax, Apple  would have to compitulate. Apple would drop in stock price immediately and lose tens of billions of market cap. 

    Those top 100 apps would not even register as blip on Apple's revenue radar.
    And it's not a tax. It's a service charge for using Apple's resources and gaining access to their customers.

    aderutterfotoformatBeatsmwhitedewmelolliverbeowulfschmidth2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 31
    I’m guessing this means Epic won’t be invited on stage to preview an upcoming game during a keynote anytime soon!
    fluffheadheadfull0winemwhiterandominternetpersonlolliverFileMakerFelleraderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 31
    Apple should charge $1000 per developer per year for XCode and $10000 per title per year to license the SDK. That is fairly reasonable considering what you get for the money and much cheaper than similar ecosystems before Apple built the App store. Codewarrior cost me $1500 back in the day and it was no where near as good as XCode. Adjust for inflation and you've got yourself a bargain.

    And charge fees of $0.10 per download (including all updates) to help run the store, don't allow free apps and charge take 30% of the initial purchase price.

    Developers aren't getting charged 30% for simply having their app on the app store. They're getting that for the entire ecosystem Apple built for them, tools, support systems, online store as a service and so on.

    The reason Apple doesn't want to do that is because it kills innovation. It kills the small guys by putting a high bar in place to cover Apple's costs. Look at the before and after landscape. How many stories were there of high schoolers making a million dollars from their bedroom back when they had to pay vast sums for development tools, negotiate with publishers (who were taking more than 30%) and fight for shelf space at retailers (who were taking more than 30%)? In round numbers, 0.

    Epic can die in a fire for all I care. All the developers who work there have profited immensely from what Apple has done for the software industry and now they want to either force Apple to give everything away or recoup their costs in the only other way and kill opportunity for those who come behind them? Disgraceful.
    BeatsmwhitechasmdewmeGabyrandominternetpersonaltivec88fred steinlolliverRayz2016
  • Reply 12 of 31

    When are people going to realize this isn’t about reducing the cost to consumers, this is about getting as much money out of consumers as they possibly can.  Epic and the other companies that are protesting the “Apple Tax” aren’t trying to eliminate or even reduce the cost of being in the App Store for themselves.  What they are trying to do is force Apple, either through their own decision, through the courts, or through legislation, to change the way they charge developers for being in the App Store.  They want to do away with the competition from free apps.  They want Apple to change to an approach where any developer that wants to put an app in the App Store has to pay for it, which in turn will eliminate almost all free apps and almost all developers they may have to compete with.  Or better yet, they want to force Apple to allow, or be force to allow, alternate App Stores on every single IOS device so they can stop having to live with the privacy restrictions Apple forces on them.  Then they can get to what they really want, harvesting user data so they can make the user what they think all users should be – the product rather than the customer.

    jdb8167chasmcoolfactorcat52lolliverRayz2016FileMakerFellerbeowulfschmidtaderutterleavingthebigg
  • Reply 13 of 31
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    JMaille said:

    When are people going to realize this isn’t about reducing the cost to consumers, this is about getting as much money out of consumers as they possibly can.  Epic and the other companies that are protesting the “Apple Tax” aren’t trying to eliminate or even reduce the cost of being in the App Store for themselves.  What they are trying to do is force Apple, either through their own decision, through the courts, or through legislation, to change the way they charge developers for being in the App Store.  They want to do away with the competition from free apps.  They want Apple to change to an approach where any developer that wants to put an app in the App Store has to pay for it, which in turn will eliminate almost all free apps and almost all developers they may have to compete with.  Or better yet, they want to force Apple to allow, or be force to allow, alternate App Stores on every single IOS device so they can stop having to live with the privacy restrictions Apple forces on them.  Then they can get to what they really want, harvesting user data so they can make the user what they think all users should be – the product rather than the customer.

    Sorry but you are wrong. Epic did lower the price by 20% if purchased through the online payment system. For instance, 1,000 V-bucks, which is roughly equivalent to $10 in-game Fortnite currency, now costs just $7.99. 
    edited August 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 31
    JMaille said:

    When are people going to realize this isn’t about reducing the cost to consumers, this is about getting as much money out of consumers as they possibly can.  Epic and the other companies that are protesting the “Apple Tax” aren’t trying to eliminate or even reduce the cost of being in the App Store for themselves.  What they are trying to do is force Apple, either through their own decision, through the courts, or through legislation, to change the way they charge developers for being in the App Store.  They want to do away with the competition from free apps.  They want Apple to change to an approach where any developer that wants to put an app in the App Store has to pay for it, which in turn will eliminate almost all free apps and almost all developers they may have to compete with.  Or better yet, they want to force Apple to allow, or be force to allow, alternate App Stores on every single IOS device so they can stop having to live with the privacy restrictions Apple forces on them.  Then they can get to what they really want, harvesting user data so they can make the user what they think all users should be – the product rather than the customer.

    Sorry but you are wrong. Epic did lower the price by 20% if purchased through the online payment system. For instance, 1,000 V-bucks, which is roughly equivalent to $10 in-game Fortnite currency, now costs just $7.99. 
    Do the math for a second. So, for the Apple version of that package is $9.99. Their "Epic Store" pricing is $2.00 cheaper (or 20%). They make MORE by having you go through their system than the Apple ecosystem. This is 100% so Epic can make more money, and not pay anything (or close to anything) for being on someone else's hard work and infrastructure. JMaille is absolutely correct.
    Beatsjdb8167ericthehalfbeeGabyrandominternetpersoncat52lolliverJanNLaderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 31
    NjayNjay Posts: 1member
    They knew what they were doing.  They had a lawsuit already written up.
    Beatsmwhitechasmdewmefred steinmacxpresscoolfactorcat52lolliverFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 16 of 31
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,262member
    If the top 100 apps that have a 30% tax applied to their subscriptions all pulled their apps together and made a joint statement to lower the Apple Tax, Apple  would have to compitulate. Apple would drop in stock price immediately and lose tens of billions of market cap. 

    So is it subscriptions or in app purchases that made Apple react?

    Epic announced that they would allow iOS and Android customers to purchase in-game Fortnite items and V-bucks directly, rather than paying through Apple as an in-app purchase.


    I have been paying for services outside of the app store and Apple subscriptions for while now.

    • Netflix is paid on my TMobile bill. ( Netflix on us only covers basic subscription, so I only pay $5.00 on my bill for the extra screens and 4K titles ).
    • Disney/Hulu & Espn+ is a bundle directly billed by Disney. Account and payment info set up outside of the App store
    • Shudder ( Account set up on their website and payment for the year made directly to them)
    • Youtube Premium is $9.99 a month paid directly to Google via Paypal. I Realized early on Goolge was passing the 30% charge onto me by charging $12.99 a month if I paid through Apple monthly.. but $9.99 a month if I paid them directly.

  • Reply 17 of 31
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,908member
    JMaille said:

    When are people going to realize this isn’t about reducing the cost to consumers, this is about getting as much money out of consumers as they possibly can.  Epic and the other companies that are protesting the “Apple Tax” aren’t trying to eliminate or even reduce the cost of being in the App Store for themselves.  What they are trying to do is force Apple, either through their own decision, through the courts, or through legislation, to change the way they charge developers for being in the App Store.  They want to do away with the competition from free apps.  They want Apple to change to an approach where any developer that wants to put an app in the App Store has to pay for it, which in turn will eliminate almost all free apps and almost all developers they may have to compete with.  Or better yet, they want to force Apple to allow, or be force to allow, alternate App Stores on every single IOS device so they can stop having to live with the privacy restrictions Apple forces on them.  Then they can get to what they really want, harvesting user data so they can make the user what they think all users should be – the product rather than the customer.


    Wow they wanna eliminate free apps? Sounds anti-competitive to me.
    FileMakerFelleraderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 31
    Update: In response to Fortnite being removed from the App Store, Epic games says it is now filing a lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of unfair business practices.
    That confirms that this whole thing is a publicity stunt by Epic. 
    Not a "publicity stunt" at all.  It's high-stakes gamesmanship in the legal domain.  
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 31
    JMaille said:

    When are people going to realize this isn’t about reducing the cost to consumers, this is about getting as much money out of consumers as they possibly can.  Epic and the other companies that are protesting the “Apple Tax” aren’t trying to eliminate or even reduce the cost of being in the App Store for themselves.  What they are trying to do is force Apple, either through their own decision, through the courts, or through legislation, to change the way they charge developers for being in the App Store.  They want to do away with the competition from free apps.  They want Apple to change to an approach where any developer that wants to put an app in the App Store has to pay for it, which in turn will eliminate almost all free apps and almost all developers they may have to compete with.  Or better yet, they want to force Apple to allow, or be force to allow, alternate App Stores on every single IOS device so they can stop having to live with the privacy restrictions Apple forces on them.  Then they can get to what they really want, harvesting user data so they can make the user what they think all users should be – the product rather than the customer.

    Sorry but you are wrong. Epic did lower the price by 20% if purchased through the online payment system. For instance, 1,000 V-bucks, which is roughly equivalent to $10 in-game Fortnite currency, now costs just $7.99. 
    You are very naive if you think that's the case.   This is a stunt to get consumers on their side and nothing more.  If Apple was out of the picture, there is no way they would discount the price.  Why would any company lose out on extra money.   If the market was willing to pay $10 before, why would they lower it for you.  You really think they are nice guys and don't care about making as much money as they can.   Maybe if they make another stand and get rid of other costs such as employee coffee breaks, they will pass that on to us customers too.  Looking forward to it being $6.99
    cat52lolliverBeatsaderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 31
    This became political when the US congress and the EU started poking. Putin joined too. Epic prepared their lawsuit and provoked Apple. Apple responded predictable and the papers were filed immediately. 

    Is Apple's 30% fee fair? Apple provides all the tools and services to all developers for a tiny sign up fee. Plus Apple provides provides security and privacy for both consumers and developers. For developers, they offer some protection against copy cats. The BIGGEST benefit for Apple developers is access to the BEST demographic in purchasing power to all developers - it's 5th avenue, Knightsbridge.
    coolfactorcat52chasmlolliverwatto_cobra
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