Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices.
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
We keep an eye on all lawsuits alleging that the tech companies have too much control.
This one isn’t likely to go anywhere big, but it is worth keeping an eye on nonetheless.
Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google on Thursday removed popular video game “Fortnite” from their app stores for violating the in-app payment guidelines, prompting developer Epic Games to file federal antitrust lawsuits challenging their rules.
Apple and Google cited a direct payment feature rolled out on the Fortnite app earlier in the day as the violation.
Epic sued in U.S. court seeking no money from Apple or Google, but rather injunctions that would end many of the companies’ practices related to their app stores.
“Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation. Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched, and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear,” Epic said in its lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California.
Epic also attacked Apple on social media, launching a campaign with the hashtag #FreeFortnite, urging players to seek refunds from Apple if they lose access to the game, and creating a parody of Apple’s famous “1984” television ad.
In the parody, which quickly garnered hundreds of thousands of views, a female Fortnite fighter hurls a unicorn-shaped club to smash a screen on which an Apple-headed character speaks of “the anniversary of the platform unification directives.”
Apple takes a cut of between 15% and 30% for most app subscriptions and payments made inside apps, though there are some exceptions for companies that already have a credit card on file for iPhone customers if they also offer an in-app payment that would benefit Apple.
Analysts believe games are the biggest contributor to spending inside the App Store, which is in turn the largest component of Apple’s $46.3 billion-per-year services segment.
In a statement, Apple said Fortnite was removed because Epic had launched the payment feature with the “express intent of violating the App Store guidelines” after having had apps in the store for a decade.
“The fact that their (Epic) 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,” Apple said.
Google also removed “Fortnite” from its Play Store, but the company’s spokesman Dan Jackson declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted by Reuters.
“However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play,” he said in a statement. Jackson said Epic violated a rule requiring developers to use Google’s in-app billing system for products within video games.
What Epic is saying about the power of these companies is correct, but the way Epic makes money from Fortnite is also unethical. What it seems like here though is that Epic was only changing the way they collect the money, not somehow making their policies more unethical.
It is a way to stir up hatred against these companies, because people love their Fortnite.