Epic asks EU help in a row with Apple

Photo: EPA

Epic Games announced it had escalated its legal fight with Apple by involving EU antitrust bodies, Reuters reported. Epic Games has also complained to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal and to the Australian watchdog, at the same time seeking damages.

However, Epic Games has failed to prove its point in a US court against Apple. The row is over the Apple payments system linked to in-app purchases of apps downloads. The two companies have been locked in a legal dispute since August last year when the game maker tried to avoid an Apple fee of 30% by launching its own payment system.

That prompted Apple to dump Epic’s Fortnite game from the App Store and threaten to terminate an affiliated account that would have effectively blocked distribution of Unreal Engine, a software tool used by hundreds of app makers to create games.

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said Apple’s control of its platform has tilted the level playing field.

“The 30% they charge as their app tax, they can make it 50% or 90% or 100%. Under their theory of how these markets are structured, they have every right to do that,” he told Reuters. “Epic is not asking any court or regulator to change this 30% to some other number, only 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 gaming subscription service on its platform by preventing them from bundling several games together - when its own service, called Apple Arcade, does that. Apple said its rules apply equally to all developers and that Epic had violated them.

“Their reckless behavior made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making this clear to the European Commission,” Apple said in a statement.

The Commission, which is investigating Apple’s mobile payment system Apple Pay and the App Store, declined to comment on the complaint, saying it was aware of the concerns regarding Apple’s App Store rules.

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