Epic Games sues Apple and Google in the UK over Fortnite row

(Pocket-lint) – Last year, Apple and Google booted Fortnite from their respective app stores, and now, the game’s developer, Epic Games, alleges the two companies are in violation of UK competition laws.

The whole row boils down to – when you buy an app, subscription, or in-app item on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store – Apple and Google get a percentage of the sale. Usually, they require a 30 per cent cut, but the fee can be lower. 

In August 2020, Epic Games side-stepped Apple and Google’s rules, by letting Fortnite players buy virtual currency at a lower price, direct from Epic Games. The developer had said previously it believes the 30 per cent cut is too much. In response, both the Apple App Store or Google Play Store then removed Fortnite from their app stores. Apple even terminated Epic Games’ developer account.
 
By trying to bypass their payment systems, Apple and Google said Epic Games broke their terms and conditions.

Fast forward to 15 January 2021: In documents filed with the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal, Epic Games is now alleging Apple and Google abused their dominance over their operating systems by unfairly restricting competition from alternative app stores, stopping developers from  using their own payment-processing services, and charging “unfair prices for the distribution of apps”.

Epic Games wants the court to order Apple and Google to reinstate its software and accounts, let developers use their own payment-processing systems, and let consumers download Epic Games’ software outside of the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. “We believe that this is an important argument to make on behalf of consumers and developers in the UK”, said Epic Games in a statement.

Epic Games is also taking legal action in the US and Australia.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.

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