BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The creators of Fortnite Epic Games have been battling Apple for the European Union’s antitrust regulators, escalating disputes with the iPhone maker over the App Store payment system and control over app downloads.
The two companies have been locked in a legal dispute since last August, when the game maker tried to avoid Apple’s 30% fee for some in-app purchases on the App Store by launching its own in-app payment system.
That prompted Apple to kick the Fortnite Epic game off the App Store and threatened to terminate affiliate accounts that effectively blocked distribution of the Unreal Engine, a software tool used by hundreds of app creators to create games.
Epic Games founder and chief executive Tim Sweeney said Apple’s control over its platform tilted the level of the playing field.
“The 30% they charge as their application tax, they can make it 50% or 90% or 100%. “Under their theory of how this market is structured, they have the right to do that,” he told reporters.
“Epic is not asking the court or regulators to convert this 30% into some other number, just to restore competition on iOS,” he said, referring to Apple’s mobile operating system.
The company also accused Apple of barring rivals from launching their own game subscription services on its platform by preventing them from bundling multiple games together, even though its own Apple Arcade service did that.
Apple says the rules apply equally to all developers and Epic has broken them.
“In a way that judges described as fraudulent and confidential, Epic enabled features in its app, which were not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the intention of violating App Store guidelines that apply equally to every developer and protect customers,” the company said in a statement. a statement.
“Their reckless behavior is making customer pawns, and we hope to explain this to the European Commission,” he said.
Apple has taken small steps in recent months to change its practices, including lowering costs for some developers and giving them a way to challenge its decisions, neither of which has satisfied company critics.
Fortnite is scheduled to return to iPhone at some point in the mobile Safari browser. Epic and Apple have in recent weeks traded documents and made depositions ahead of the scheduled May hearing in Epic’s lawsuit filed last year.
The commission, which is investigating Apple’s mobile payment systems, Apple Pay and the App Store, confirmed receipt of the complaint.
“We will judge based on our standard procedures,” said a spokesman for the Commission.
Epic Games has also filed complaints with the UK Competition Court of Appeals and the Australian supervisor.
Big companies such as Microsoft Corp., Spotify and Match Group Inc have also criticized Apple’s App Store fees and rules.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Edited by Barbara Lewis, Edmund Blair and David Goodman