The feud that started last August with Apple removing Fortnite from the iOS system, has now elevated a step further, with the Cupertino tech giant being taken to court in Europe by Epic games. The organization recently filed a complaint with the European Union against Apple’s removal of apps without following any set structure of rules.
The antitrust complaint has been lodged on the grounds that Apple largely monopolizes all apps and services that are available on the store. In a tweet the organization claimed that, through its restrictions, Apple eliminates any app that might be a competition for them, and hence abuses its dominant position, going against the EU competition laws. The Epic games officials have claimed that this battle is being fought to ‘level the playing field’ and ensure free and fair competition.
Apple had banned Fornite from its App Store as a retaliation to Epic Games adding an option for direct in-game payments in the game- hence eliminating the middleman Apple and its cut of purchase. While the US judge had dismissed the request and said that Apple couldn’t be forced to put back Fortnite on the store, EU has opened a formal investigation regarding the matter.
When Fortnite was banned, Apple had warned that it would also revoke Unreal engine from the App Store as well, a move which would have cost the third parties a loss, according to a US Court. Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said on the topic, “What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms. 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. 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.”
Thus, that idea was scrapped. However, Fortnite still remains off Apple platforms, and it looks like that is going to be the case for a while.
This complaint is not the first against Apple and its restrictions. Earlier Spotify had complained regarding similar issues, and the Fortnite producer itself has filed several lawsuits in the US, UK, and Australia regarding the monopoly of power that is allegedly being done by apple.
While regional law bodies have sketched out a plan to expand the regulation of such restrictions, to ensure free competition and accountability, the whole matter is still to be investigated further.