Epic Games Takes Legal Battle With Apple to Europe With Antitrust Complaint

Epic Games has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union, broadening its legal battle against the tech giant by attempting to appeal to the EU's differing interpretation of antitrust issues compared to those in the United States (via The Wall Street Journal).

fortnite apple logo 2
Last September, ‌Epic Games‌‌‌ added a Fortnite update that allowed customers to purchase in-game currency directly from ‌Epic, skirting Apple's in-app purchases. That is against Apple's rules, and the move led Apple to pull the app from the App Store, which Epic clearly anticipated, as it wasted no time in taking Apple to court and releasing an anti-Apple marketing campaign simultaneously.

In August, Apple followed through with a threat to terminate ‌‌‌Epic Games‌‌‌' developer account and countersued Epic in October, claiming breach of contract. Last year, Google pulled Fortnite from the Google Play Store for the same reason – introducing a payment system that bypasses the standard app store policy that sees the hosting platform take a 30% share of in-app purchases.

Epic's legal complaint against Apple in the EU joins plaintiffs including Spotify that have prompted a formal investigation by the European Commission into Apple's alleged anticompetitive behavior.

"What's at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms," said Epic founder and Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney. "We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field."

Sweeney said that while the legal case filed in Europe targets Apple, "the broad outlines… are equally applicable to Google, though the timing may be different."

Europe uses different standards than the U.S. when it comes to antitrust issues, focusing more on fairness between competitors than their impact on consumers, which the U.S tends to focus on. Epic has also filed similar lawsuits in Australia and the U.K., accusing Apple of an abuse of dominance.

The European Commission has yet to comment on Epic's complaint, which remains confidential. However, the Commission's ongoing investigation, launched last year, into how Apple Pay is the only contactless payment service allowed on iOS devices, may factor into its considerations of Epic's argument that Apple's operating system should be open to competing stores.

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Top Rated Comments

TehFalcon Avatar
45 months ago
Epic games is such a terrible company. They are nearing EA’s level of scum in the Video Game industry.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
svanstrom Avatar
45 months ago

Since Europe hates Apple they might have a chance here. We'll see!
As a European: No, we don't.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wilhoitm Avatar
45 months ago

They might win in Europe. The European Union have a habit of ruling against big tech companies.
Epic is smoking crack if they are suing both Apple and Google and expect to win! Instead of bitching and moaning about this, they should have done an IPO! What a waste of time, money, and resources!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
louisitou Avatar
45 months ago

I'm European too, I'd say except the U.K., which is not in the EU anymore, they pretty much hate Apple, but they hate the rest of GAFAM too.
im European too, and its the first time i hear this claim lol. Apple is very popular here and preferred in many situations.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JouniS Avatar
45 months ago

You guys, seem to be little bit confused, we are not talking about being popular or hated, its about european government, laws and politics
Do they hate Apple? Europe dont like american company who are involved in position of monopoly/antitrust
Keep in mind, Europe is far different from USA, its part of our DNA/mind, we are not too capitalist/liberal
I'd rather say this is a difference between two kinds of capitalism: pro-business and pro-market.

In pro-business capitalism, governments make decisions that benefit established businesses, sometimes raising the barriers of entry for new businesses. Any political system that allows lobbying naturally leans towards pro-business, because the established businesses have the means to advance their interests.

In contrast, pro-market capitalism strives to keep the barriers of entry for new businesses low, sometimes at the expense of established businesses. The EU is one of the few major entities with significant pro-market tendencies, and even that is more by accident than by design.

EU member states would like nothing more than preferring domestic businesses over their EU competitors. Because the EU is supposed to be a single market, it can't allow that. Member states are legally required to treat domestic businesses and businesses from other member states equally. This is the single most important thing about the EU to remember. As the EU exists to enforce free competition between businesses from different member states, the same attitude leaks to its other operations.

In particular, the EU really dislikes anti-competitive business practices, especially when they threaten the single market principle. If the anti-competitive practices are unavoidable, the EU regulates them to create competition. For example, if you own a mobile network or a power grid, you are legally required to let your competitors use it for a fair price. When the EU sees a major business, it always thinks about regulating the market to let new businesses compete against it.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shanghaichica Avatar
45 months ago
They might win in Europe. The European Union have a habit of ruling against big tech companies.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)