Epic seeks 'coalition' of Apple critics as fight over App Store policies intensifies

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Epic Games is looking to form a coalition of like-minded companies as it wages legal war against Apple and the tech giant's App Store business, according to a report Monday.

Epic Fortnite Commercial
Screenshot from Epic's Fortnite-styled Apple ad parody.


Citing people familiar with the matter, The Information reports Epic has over the past few weeks reached out to executives at tech firms regarding the formation of a so-called "coalition" of Apple critics.

Specifics were left unreported, though Epic reportedly discussed the matter with Spotify prior to filing suit against Apple last week. The streaming music titan, a noted critic of the App Store business model that lodged its own antitrust complaint against Apple in 2019, was not yet part of the coalition as of last week, the report said.

Spotify did, however, come out in support of Epic's legal action shortly after the suit was filed, saying, "Apple's unfair practices have disadvantaged competitors and deprived consumers for far too long. The stakes for consumers and app developers large and small couldn't be higher and ensuring that the iOS platform operates competitively and fairly is an urgent task with far-reaching implications."

It remains unclear as to what purpose a formalized anti-Apple group would serve, but one unnamed source described the effort as a means to steer public perception of the iPhone maker in Epic's favor. Epic's desire to take the fight out of court and into the public arena was made clear last week when the gaming company released a short Fortnite-styled video lampooning Apple's "1984" ad. The parody hit Twitter and was broadcast in-game minutes after the lawsuit was announced.

Epic in what appears to be an attempt to bait Apple into removing the popular battle royale game from the App Store updated the app to include a direct payment option. The new payment method bypasses in-app transaction mechanisms provided by Apple and Google, a clear violation of both stores' rules. In response, Apple, and later Google, pulled the title from circulation. Epic had a lawsuit and corresponding PR strategy locked and loaded.

On Monday, Apple doubled down on its position and threatened to terminate Epic's developer account by Aug. 28 if the firm failed to fall in line with App Store guidelines. The move would impact Epic's access to SDKs, meaning the company's Unreal Engine would also be rendered unusable for hundreds of third-party iOS and Mac apps that rely on the software to function. Epic is requesting a temporary restraining order against Apple's action as it awaits a court date.

As for Epic's coalition of Apple detractors, it appears the firm was preparing for a fight well ahead of last week's legal maneuvering. Whether the gaming company will find success in creating such a group remains unclear. Many developers, even those who side with Epic on allegedly monopolistic App Store policies like fees, fear reprisal from Apple.

Indeed, one executive at an unnamed game maker said he supported measures that would lower the App Store's traditional 30% commission rate, but voiced concern that creating a coalition for the purpose could itself violate antitrust laws, today's report said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 775member
    These guys really know how to bite the hand that feeds them. I would love to see a report showing just how much Epic has grossed from Apple App Store sales alone.
    pulseimagesramanpfaffBeatsCuJoYYCpjwilkincornchipSpamSandwichhammeroftruthBart Ymagman1979
  • Reply 2 of 55
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,317member
    What a pathetic, desperate, malicious company. 

    They fucked themselves completely from their own doing, with a failed campaign that only led to self sabotage. Not only did they knowingly break the terms of their agreement, they had a 62 page lawsuit ready to go along with a twisted version of Apple's classic 1984 ad as icing on the cake. Now, they're begging the courts to stop Apple from revoking all their access (which is well within Apple's rights and their only logical course of action). 

    Again, pathetic company. 
    anantksundarampulseimagestmayBeatsCuJoYYCDancingMonkeysaderuttermacpluspluscornchippscooter63
  • Reply 3 of 55
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    Apple invented the modern smartphone hardware, OS, app store, development tools, and many of the underlying concepts. After many years they built a successful business and loyal customer base and they allow other companies to share in that success. There was a tremendous cost to develop all that and to continue to maintain it. Does Apple make a profit? of course, as they should for their innovative, successful hard work. Epic is making a profit too - but apparently they feel they want more than a 70% slice to use the Apple platform and tap into this audience. If Epic doesn’t like the rules then stick to consoles and PCs. Epic has gone about his the wrong way, instead of negotiating like big boys they come across as a bratty little kid using tactics to bad mouth Apple. Very foolish, Long term, Epic has more to lose in this battle than Apple - at some point - like all other video games - the Fortnite fad will fade away, then what?
    anantksundarampulseimagesBeatsaderutterDogpersonBart Ymagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 55
    normangnormang Posts: 116member
    And in other news,

    A cart vendor rolls into a Mall, sets up shop, never consulted the management of the mall, has no contract.

    After he is removed from the mall, goes down the road to another mall. does the same thing and gets kicked out.  

    Now the cart vendor is suing both malls for "Antitrust",  and suing one of the malls to let him in anyway.. Irregardless of whether he has any legal right to do so.

    I wonder who wins this one... It's probably pretty obvious.  

    An analogy to this was posted elsewhere, I altered it as to not plagiarize it completely..
    ramanpfaffBeatscornchipdedgeckomagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 55
    I forget who said this, some French guy I think (I am paraphrasing): "The surest way to fool yourself is to think you're smarter than others."

    Epic.
    Beatscornchippscooter63GG1Bart Ymagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 55
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,866member
    I want these punks to threaten to remove their apps from the App Store. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 55
    Fort Whatever. Just write good clean code that runs on the web and you won't need the app store at all. Until then, pay the 30%.
    BeatsaderuttermacpluspluscornchipjohnbearBart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 55
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,768member
    Can you imagine federal or state authorities stepping in and dictating to Walmart (or Target, or any old retailer) the terms and margins at which they should conduct business with their vendors?  That's what these punks at Epic and Spotify want the government to do for them.
    BeatsaderutterrandominternetpersonGG1Bart Ymagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 55
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Fort Whatever. Just write good clean code that runs on the web and you won't need the app store at all. Until then, pay the 30%.
    Apple has already suggested that to folk who don’t want to list on the App Store. This, of course, won’t be good enough for Epc, who want to have their cake, eat it without paying for it, then set up their own donut shop inside someone else’s bakery. 
    Beatspjwilkinpscooter63Bart Ymagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 55
    Maybe instead of buying up companies, Apple should be spending big bucks trying to recruit the best lawyers they can find because Apple is such a huge target due to the amount of money it makes.  Maybe a good legal team can draw up airtight contracts where if some developer breaks the rules they'll have to pay a huge amount of money.  I just don't understand this situation where a developer signs a contract or legal agreement and then has a huge stink about it down the line.  I'm sure Epic Games must have precisely understood the terms of the App Store contract.  They should just leave if they don't agree to the terms.  I mean, what's the point of the contract if the terms are going to be broken.  I wonder if most of the developers are dissatisfied with the terms of the App Store contract.  There must be thousands of developers on the App Store, so is there going to be a mass revolt soon because of Epic Games dissatisfaction?  I sure hope not.

    I honestly don't know if a 30% fee is fair but I don't see why Apple should have to let other payment systems exist in the App Store.  If I was a customer and I didn't like how a store was being run, I wouldn't be outside protesting.  I would simply go to another store.  Maybe I'm wrong for thinking that way, but that's just how I feel.  It's damn weird Apple is also going after Google Play.  Both platforms are sure Epic Games is wrong, so something must be wrong with Epic Games' way of thinking.

    I just don't want the App Store to be compromised in any way that might be detrimental to Apple's customer base.
    mwhitededgeckoFileMakerFellermagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 55
    Alex1NAlex1N Posts: 49member
    I wonder if Epic is going to take. Google to court as wellThat would be amusing.
    Bart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 55
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Alex1N said:
    I wonder if Epic is going to take. Google to court as wellThat would be amusing.

    I imagine they'll focus on Apple because that's where they can get the most publicity. 
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 55
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Maybe instead of buying up companies, Apple should be spending big bucks trying to recruit the best lawyers they can find because Apple is such a huge target due to the amount of money it makes.  Maybe a good legal team can draw up airtight contracts where if some developer breaks the rules they'll have to pay a huge amount of money.  I just don't understand this situation where a developer signs a contract or legal agreement and then has a huge stink about it down the line.  I'm sure Epic Games must have precisely understood the terms of the App Store contract.  They should just leave if they don't agree to the terms.  I mean, what's the point of the contract if the terms are going to be broken.  I wonder if most of the developers are dissatisfied with the terms of the App Store contract.  There must be thousands of developers on the App Store, so is there going to be a mass revolt soon because of Epic Games dissatisfaction?  I sure hope not.

    I honestly don't know if a 30% fee is fair but I don't see why Apple should have to let other payment systems exist in the App Store.  If I was a customer and I didn't like how a store was being run, I wouldn't be outside protesting.  I would simply go to another store.  Maybe I'm wrong for thinking that way, but that's just how I feel.  It's damn weird Apple is also going after Google Play.  Both platforms are sure Epic Games is wrong, so something must be wrong with Epic Games' way of thinking.

    I just don't want the App Store to be compromised in any way that might be detrimental to Apple's customer base.
    Hiring better lawyers (though I don't think Apple's lawyers are that great) wouldn't help. 

    Epic doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. They signed the contract, and they're now asking for permission to renege on that contract. Apple doesn't need better lawyers to fight this, they need shrewd marketing people to put their point of view forward. 

    Personally, I would make an example of Epic, which is one of the many reasons why I'm not running a trillion dollar company.

    Whether 30% is fair or not isn't the issue. It's what Epic signed up for. 
    edited August 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 55
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,527member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Maybe instead of buying up companies, Apple should be spending big bucks trying to recruit the best lawyers they can find because Apple is such a huge target due to the amount of money it makes.  Maybe a good legal team can draw up airtight contracts where if some developer breaks the rules they'll have to pay a huge amount of money.  I just don't understand this situation where a developer signs a contract or legal agreement and then has a huge stink about it down the line.  I'm sure Epic Games must have precisely understood the terms of the App Store contract.  They should just leave if they don't agree to the terms.  I mean, what's the point of the contract if the terms are going to be broken.  I wonder if most of the developers are dissatisfied with the terms of the App Store contract.  There must be thousands of developers on the App Store, so is there going to be a mass revolt soon because of Epic Games dissatisfaction?  I sure hope not.

    I honestly don't know if a 30% fee is fair but I don't see why Apple should have to let other payment systems exist in the App Store.  If I was a customer and I didn't like how a store was being run, I wouldn't be outside protesting.  I would simply go to another store.  Maybe I'm wrong for thinking that way, but that's just how I feel.  It's damn weird Apple is also going after Google Play.  Both platforms are sure Epic Games is wrong, so something must be wrong with Epic Games' way of thinking.

    I just don't want the App Store to be compromised in any way that might be detrimental to Apple's customer base.
    Hiring better lawyers (though I don't think Apple's lawyers are that great) wouldn't help. 

    Epic doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. They signed the contract, and they're now asking for permission to renege on that contract. Apple doesn't need better lawyers to fight this, they need shrewd marketing people to put their point of view forward. 

    Personally, I would make an example of Epic, which is one of the many reasons why I'm not running a trillion dollar company.

    Whether 30% is fair or not isn't the issue. It's what Epic signed up for. 

    Welcome to 2020 where emotions are more important than facts.
    GG1dedgeckowatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 55
    normang said:
    And in other news,

    A cart vendor rolls into a Mall, sets up shop, never consulted the management of the mall, has no contract.

    After he is removed from the mall, goes down the road to another mall. does the same thing and gets kicked out.  

    Now the cart vendor is suing both malls for "Antitrust",  and suing one of the malls to let him in anyway.. Irregardless of whether he has any legal right to do so.

    I wonder who wins this one... It's probably pretty obvious.  

    An analogy to this was posted elsewhere, I altered it as to not plagiarize it completely..
    Regardless, not irregardless.
    Dogperson
  • Reply 16 of 55
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,527member
    "Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them"
    — Chance The Rapper Album in July (@chancetherapper) ;;July 13, 2018

    Epic stole dance moves from popular black artists and sold them to kids for a profit. The artists did not receive a penny or recognition for their work.

    #BlackLivesMatter
    aderutterbloggerblogDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 55
    smiffy31smiffy31 Posts: 200member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Alex1N said:
    I wonder if Epic is going to take. Google to court as wellThat would be amusing.

    I imagine they'll focus on Apple because that's where they can get the most publicity. 

    The did sue Google as well https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/08/14/google-follows-apples-lead-boots-fortnite-from-play-store
    Rayz2016Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 55
    hriw-annon@xs4all.nl[email protected] Posts: 41unconfirmed, member
    What if Apple just wants the AppStore to continue to exist? If Apple allows developers to run their own store on iOS, lots of developers will go elsewhere for payment processing. (Just look at the Mac AppStore, it's a ghost town) Maybe most will stay, because most are small and need Apple to do the bit of marketing and customer relations that they are too small to handle themselves.
    But most developers is not most of the revenue. The big developers, that bring in the majority of revenue, don't need Apple for anything, they could do (and are doing) marketing, customer relations and payment processing just fine by themselves. If the big ones leave, that could more than 60% of the revenue. Then the AppStore has to operate below break even. Running something below break even is not in Apple's DNA. 

    edited August 2020 muthuk_vanalingamrain22
  • Reply 19 of 55
    normang said:
    And in other news,

    A cart vendor rolls into a Mall, sets up shop, never consulted the management of the mall, has no contract.

    After he is removed from the mall, goes down the road to another mall. does the same thing and gets kicked out.  

    Unfortunately in the real counterpart of this analogy, the cart vendor is not allowed to set up shop anywhere else. Many do not wish to be in the App Store Mall, as many cant compensate the high sellers fee (which is totally lawful), but they cant go outside and sell either. That is the reason why this whole ordeal is even an issue - even if it is legal now, sideloading is actively deactivated at each system update - one can now legally circumvent this thanks to the jailbreaking court-ruling, but it is not easy for all, and it can be a hassle. At the very least it is difficult to sustain commercially.

    Remember that in many legislations and countries your analogy is real and a cart vendor cannot set up an honest shop for survival anywhere simply because malls, or other government-favoured shops do not want competition (or need cheap labour/slaves). This is all fine until it is us needing to survive and make commerce, and as the world economy is going, i wouldnt think it is just something happening in an other continent.

    This legal battle may be the grounds for how we and our children will be living in as short as a decade, as this will update Anti-Trust laws to global digital times. Capitalism becomes totalitarianism when monopolies go unchecked, so Anti-Trust laws are conisdered pillars of Democracy. Epic is acting so aggressively that they almost seem to want to wreck this all up in an otherwise valid case - but they are closer to 99% of humans than any monopoly will ever be.
  • Reply 20 of 55
    normangnormang Posts: 116member
    PDRPRTS said:
    normang said:
    And in other news,

    A cart vendor rolls into a Mall, sets up shop, never consulted the management of the mall, has no contract.

    After he is removed from the mall, goes down the road to another mall. does the same thing and gets kicked out.  

    Unfortunately in the real counterpart of this analogy, the cart vendor is not allowed to set up shop anywhere else. Many do not wish to be in the App Store Mall, as many cant compensate the high sellers fee (which is totally lawful), but they cant go outside and sell either. That is the reason why this whole ordeal is even an issue - even if it is legal now, sideloading is actively deactivated at each system update - one can now legally circumvent this thanks to the jailbreaking court-ruling, but it is not easy for all, and it can be a hassle. At the very least it is difficult to sustain commercially.

    Remember that in many legislations and countries your analogy is real and a cart vendor cannot set up an honest shop for survival anywhere simply because malls, or other government-favoured shops do not want competition (or need cheap labour/slaves). This is all fine until it is us needing to survive and make commerce, and as the world economy is going, i wouldnt think it is just something happening in an other continent.

    This legal battle may be the grounds for how we and our children will be living in as short as a decade, as this will update Anti-Trust laws to global digital times. Capitalism becomes totalitarianism when monopolies go unchecked, so Anti-Trust laws are conisdered pillars of Democracy. Epic is acting so aggressively that they almost seem to want to wreck this all up in an otherwise valid case - but they are closer to 99% of humans than any monopoly will ever be.
    The cart vendor has a choice, if he wants to be in the mall, he has to pay the fee that the mall requires to be there to use "their" space.   Your trying to create fairness where there is none, you can compete or you cannot.. If you decide to setup a cart in a saturated market, you had better be able to market and show that you have a far superior product, or your going to fail..    

    Epic has no valid case..  They are trying to upend the app store, and in the process even if somehow they succeeded, its unlikely that things would really improve for anyone else..   It would merely show that if you legally force your will on someone its no different than totalitarianism I assume you decry.. 
    cornchipFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
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