'Fortnite' maker Epic Games is taking its war with Apple to the EU

Business Insider US
Apple CEO TIm Cook.
  • Epic Games filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission on Wednesday.
  • Epic claimed Apple imposes unfair restrictions on developers in the App Store.
  • Epic Games and Apple have been embroiled in a legal dispute in the US since August.
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Epic Games, the games studio behind "Fortnite," filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission on Wednesday.

In a statement published on its website, Epic Games said its complaint alleges that "through a series of carefully designed anti-competitive restrictions, Apple has not just harmed but completely eliminated competition in app distribution and payment processes."

Epic Games and Apple have been at each other's throats since August, when Epic allowed players to use its own in-game payment system, defying one of Apple's App Store rules. The App Store requires developers to use Apple's payment system for in-app transactions, from which Apple automatically takes a 30% cut.

Apple booted "Fortnite" off the App Store, and Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple in the US, claiming the iPhone giant imposes "unreasonable restraints" on developers, who have to use its App Store if they want to access the giant iOS market.

The trial for the US case is set to kick off in May, with Apple CEO Tim Cook scheduled to give a seven-hour deposition.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement Wednesday that "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 said.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games.

In a statement to Insider, an Apple spokesman said Epic Games had made "pawns" of its customers.

"Epic has been one of the most successful developers on the App Store, growing into a multibillion dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world, including in the EU. In ways a judge has described as deceptive and clandestine, Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines that apply equally to every developer and protect customers.

"Their reckless behaviour made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making this clear to the European Commission," Apple's spokesman said.

The EU is already investigating the 30% levy Apple imposes on in-app payments. Europe's competition watchdog launched a pair of antitrust investigations into Apple in June, one of which specifically focuses on the 30% cut. The investigation was opened following a complaint from music-streaming giant Spotify.

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