'Fortnite' developer Epic Games files antitrust complaint against Apple in EU

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2021
Epic Games has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union against Apple, continuing the two companies' dispute over the App Store.

A still from Epic's parody of Apple's '1984' Super Bowl commercial
A still from Epic's parody of Apple's '1984' Super Bowl commercial


As North Dakota rejected an anti-Apple bill drafted by an Epic Games lobbyist, the "Fortnite" developer has taken its complaints to the European Union. Despite being in dispute with both Apple and Google, Epic Games has singled out Apple for the complaint, which it says has eliminated competition.

"What's at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms." says Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney in a company blog post about the complaint. "Consumers have the right to install apps from sources of their choosing and developers have the right to compete in a fair marketplace."

"We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field," he continued. "It's bad for consumers, who are paying inflated prices due to the complete lack of competition among stores and in-app payment processing. And it's bad for developers, whose very livelihoods often hinge on Apple's complete discretion as to who to allow on the iOS platform, and on which terms."

The Epic Games blog posts says that the company "has faced and been harmed by Apple's anti-competitive restrictions." It states that Apple's removing "Fortnite" from the App Store was retaliation for Epic Games giving users a way to pay the games company directly.

Google is not mentioned in the blog post or the EU complaint, despite "Fortnite" having been removed from the Google Play Store at the same time, and for the same reason, as Apple.

The post also implies that Epic Games has been forced into this dispute following Apple's actions, but does not mention that CEO Tim Sweeney has admitted spending months on a "battle plan" beforehand.

Epic Games does note that the European Commission is already investigating what the "Fortnite" developer calls "Apple's abusive conduct." Epic Games also says that it is "simply seeking fair access and competition," rather than damages.

Apple has not responded to the EU antitrust filing. However, it has recently commented that "Epic's problem is entirely self-inflicted and is in their power to resolve."

In the US, the dispute between Apple and Epic Games will go to trial in May 2021.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    What is next? Files in Chinese court?

    Such a low life. 
    longpathjahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 47
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,039member
    "Consumers have the right to install apps from sources of their choosing and developers have the right to compete in a fair marketplace."

    Gee, I didn’t know that Apple set prices for apps too. 
    longpathjahbladeuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 47
    Does Epic intend to comply with ANY of the 30 pages of App Store Guidelines like no gambling, no tobacco, no medical apps, no user tracking, etc? Does Epic feel that Apple has no right to restrict anything on its App Store? Which rules does Epic think Apple is actually allowed to enforce, and which rules is Apple not allowed to enforce? How would Apple enforce any of those rules if Epic was allowed to install its own third party app store on iOS? So many questions. Does Epic have any answers?
    longpathjohnfrombeyondjahbladeuraharaBombdoeh2polsfotoformatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 47
    It’s good to see such important topics being passed to the courts to judge and decide.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    It’s good to see such important topics being passed to the courts to judge and decide.
    I agree. Courts are independent. That's one of the greatest values in democracies. I'm never upset when anything goes to court. I celebrate it. I'm not American, but I fully supported when the D's in 2016 and the R's in 2020 took the opposing party to court over election results.
    edited February 2021 jahbladeh2p
  • Reply 6 of 47
    Apple should go after EPIC for all legal fees.  This lawsuit and all the rest are malicious and corporate acts of war, EPIC is not going after Microsoft or don’t for there unfair 30% stores fees.

     What I would like to see are crates and the like being banned from in app purchases.
    longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 47
    AppStore is not the only place where Epic can sell their apps. But they are crying and shouting so loud, because they are loosing a lot of money since they’ve been kicked out of the AppStore. Actually with its actions, Epic locked themselves the AppStore's door on the outside and now desperate are trying to break in, using all possible means.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 47
    qwerty52 said:
    AppStore is not the only place where Epic can sell their apps. But they are crying and shouting so loud, because they are loosing a lot of money since they’ve been kicked out of the AppStore. Actually with its actions, Epic locked themselves the AppStore's door on the outside and now desperate are trying to break in, using all possible means.
    They are not using "all possible means". The judge in this case said the situation they are in was of "their own making" and that they could get back on the App Store easily by complying. Read the bold text below.
    On August 24, 2020, after a court hearing Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted Epic's request to prevent Apple from taking away its developer licenses for iOS and macOS, but did not grant the preliminary injunction to overturn Apple's decision to remove Fortnite from the iOS store. Rogers wrote that the removal of the developers licenses had "potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally" and Apple "has chosen to act severely" in threatening that step. On terms of Fortnite, Rogers agreed with Apple that "Epic Games has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm. The current predicament appears of its own making."

    According to the judge, Epic is not trying to get back on the App Store because it continues to choose to not comply with Apple's terms anymore. They aren't losing any money due to Apple's fault, as the judge said, they are losing money because of Epic's own fault.

    roundaboutnowjahbladeh2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 47
    Too bad Epic isn't a public company.  I'd be interested in what shareholders would think of them wasting all these resources tilting at windmills.  

    If Apple has monopoly power with a large fraction of the phone market, then Fortnight with 350 million users has monopoly power in the market for massive multiple-player real-time games.  I look forward to developer suing Epic for access to Fortnight using the same arguments Epic is using.  Too bad Apple isn't a scummy company or else they'd already have a puppet in place to do this.
    qwerty52StrangeDaysapplguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 47
    This lays bare Epic’s goal in this — to be allowed to run their own App Store for iOS. The other anti-trust challenges are secondary diversions. That’s why they choose not to go back into the App Store in the interim, even though doing so would not affect the judgement. It’s a huge payoff for them if they win. If they lose, they just go back to how things were. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 47
    croprcropr Posts: 1,090member
    qwerty52 said:
    AppStore is not the only place where Epic can sell their apps.
    That is a rather silly argument.  It is like saying to Epic, you are not allowed to sell in the USA, and that is OK because the rest of the world is big enough

  • Reply 12 of 47
    Too bad Epic isn't a public company.  I'd be interested in what shareholders would think of them wasting all these resources
    Private companies also have shareholders, unless they are a sole proprietorship, in which case one person owns the whole company. 

    You might say, "aren't the owners of private companies protected information?" It can be, but it doesn't have to be. Ownership of billion dollar companies usually leaks out or is simply stated by the owners. In Epic's case, we know Tencent, which is based in Communist China, owns 40% of Epic. Although last year Sony bought a 1.4% stake in Epic. I presume Sweeney owns the other 58%. So you can ask Sony or Tencent what they think of Sweeney's actions.

    In the UK, the ownership of private companies had to be made public back in 2016. And I didn't hear of any collapse of the British economy. I think it was done to help prevent money laundering. Maybe the US should consider doing the same thing.
    h2p
  • Reply 13 of 47
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,586member
    "What's at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms." says Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney


    What a load of crap! Apple's decision to limit software installation only affects Apple's platform and that's only 
    because that platform only exists on Apple's hardware.

    Any other openly (free or fee) licensed mobile platform would never be able to do such a thing, because that would then give the platform developer control over what the device is capable of doing and no hardware manufacturer would stand for it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 47
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,323member
    So let’s hear some comments about what happens to iOS security if third party app stores are mandated. Third party sources have long been available to macOS and the Apple Discussion Forums are full of users who downloaded sketchy apps that hosed their systems, demanding help to remove/fix their installations. Of course, they all blame Apple for their trials and tribulations. To a person they all claim they did not download or install the offending app, it just showed up one day. Apple should have warned them goes the screed. 

    Would Apple be within its rights to raise a disclaimer window before a side-loaded app is installed warning the user that the security, privacy, and functionality of the app has not been vetted and cannot be guaranteed by Apple? Apple already removes tons of apps that break the security rules by phoning home without permission and other atrocities.
    edited February 2021 qwerty52Bombdoewatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 47
    lkrupp said:
    So let’s hear some comments about what happens to iOS security if third party app stores are mandated. Third party sources have long been available to macOS and the Apple Discussion Forums are full of users who downloaded sketchy apps that hosed their systems, demanding help to remove/fix their installations. Of course, they all blame Apple for their trials and tribulations. To a person they all claim they did not download or install the offending app, it just showed up one day. Apple should have warned them goes the screed. 

    Would Apple be within its rights to **raise a disclaimer window before a side-loaded app is installed warning the user that the security, privacy, and functionality of the app has not been vetted and cannot be guaranteed by Apple? Apple already removes tons of apps that break the security rules by phoning home without permission and other atrocities.
    I'm not arguing with you. I presume you know that Google's Play Store already does **that, and worse, and Epic has already complained about it, with regards to getting Fortnite onto Android using third party app stores on Android.

    https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/309674-epic-grudgingly-releases-fortnite-for-android-on-google-play-store <--
    While Epic has relented and added Fortnite to the Play Store, it’s very, very unhappy about it. In a statement, Epic claims Google “puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage.” It cites security pop-ups and OEM software agreements as impediments to distributing its game, although it doesn’t explain why. Epic also claims that Google Play Protect will “outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store.” 

    I'm surprised Epic hasn't sued Google over Android's treatment of third party app stores and also because of Google's own Play Store. It says Google is behaving illegally, but won't sue them. If it wins the lawsuit with Apple, is it planning to sue Google next for doing similar things?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 47
    Instead of "What's at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms." it is what's at stake here is the security of mobile platforms.  Apple has excelled at providing a secure and stable mobile experience for billions of users.  That costs money and that is why Apple charges developers for using their platform.  In return the developers get a broad potential customer base and excellent development tools.
    Many developers, including Epic, 
    wouldn't be around if Apple hadn't released the iPhone.  Epic is just getting greedy.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 47
    So nuts. Epic is also a game store platform, I doubt they allow game devs to implement their own e-commerce engines inside their games.
    qwerty52randominternetpersonMactintwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 47
    I think at the end of the day Sweeney realizes he’s just software developer. And without Apple platform he’s got nothing. That’s why he’s trying to strong-arm his way onto it for a free ride. 

    As a sidenote, probably the best thing to happen to me was deleting Fortnite off of my iPad because it freed up time for other games and quite honestly work. And I’ve been an Apple user since the Apple II, so no I won’t dump Apple for another fad game. 
    qwerty52StrangeDaysh2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 47
    cropr said:
    qwerty52 said:
    AppStore is not the only place where Epic can sell their apps.
    That is a rather silly argument.  It is like saying to Epic, you are not allowed to sell in the USA, and that is OK because the rest of the world is big enough


    Sorry, but your argument is silly. As far as I know, USA is a state while AppStore is private entity. They are free to sell 
    whatever they want to and nobody can force them to sell something they don’t want to.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 47
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,017member
    I'm having really disturbing thoughts about Epic's CEO.  He's complete scum.
    watto_cobra
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