Epic Games widened its legal battle with Apple by filing an antitrust complaint against it in the European Union.
Fortnite maker Epic said it is “expanding the company’s fight to advance fairer digital platform practices for developers and consumers.”
The complaint, filed with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, 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. Apple uses its control of the iOS ecosystem to benefit itself while blocking competitors and its conduct is an abuse of a dominant position and in breach of EU competition law.”
Apple hasn’t responded to a request for comment yet. The complaint complements legal processes already underway in both the U.S. and Australia, as well as Epic’s recent filing before the United Kingdom’s Competition Appeal Tribunal.
“What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms,” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said today in a statement. “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. It’s bad for consumers, who are paying inflated prices due to the complete lack of competition among stores and in-app payment processing. And it’s bad for developers, whose very livelihoods often hinge on Apple’s complete discretion as to who to allow on the iOS platform, and on which terms.”
Epic said it has been harmed by Apple’s anti-competitive restrictions across payments and app distribution. When Epic gave Fortnite players on iOS a choice between Apple payment and Epic direct payment (at a lower price than Apple charged in the app store), Apple retaliated, removing Fortnite from the app store for violating its policies. And while Apple has launched its own gaming distribution service, Apple Arcade, it has barred competitors including Epic from doing the same, Epic said.
Epic also said that the battle is much bigger than Epic versus Apple: “It goes to the heart of whether consumers and developers can do business together directly on mobile platforms or are forced to use monopoly channels against their wishes and interests. Epic has asked the commission to address Apple’s anti-competitive conduct by imposing timely and effective remedies. Epic is not seeking damages from Apple, as is the case in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. It is simply seeking fair access and competition that will benefit consumers and developers.”
Epic said that, following complaints from other app developers, the European Commission is already investigating Apple.
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