Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney Calls Apple's App Store a 'Disservice to Developers'

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has called Apple's App Store, which has helped app makers earn over $260 billion since its launch, a "disservice to developers" that forces them to treat their apps as "sub-par."

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Sweeney made the comments in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times, where he repeated ‌Epic Games‌' previous talking points about Apple and how it is "anti-competitive" and "monopolistic." Sweeney said that Apple has "won fairly" in persuading customers to buy its hardware products but claims that forcing customers to use the ‌App Store‌ is unfair.

The problem here is a classic monopoly tie. You start with hardware. Apple make smartphones and they profit from their smartphones — and they deserve to. But then they force all buyers of their smartphones to use their app store exclusively for obtaining digital content. They prevent all other app stores from competing with them on hardware that's owned by a billion end users. That's the first tie and that completely obstructs all competition and market forces that would shape better app stores and better deals for consumers.

According to Sweeney, Apple uses its fair advantage in hardware to "gain an unfair advantage over competitors and other markets. And that breaks all the competitive dynamics that kept the tech industry healthy in the past."

Sweeney criticized the ‌App Store‌ as a platform itself, saying that despite Apple's attempt to market it as a service, it's actually a "disservice to developers." "The app store is not a service. The app store is a disservice to developers. The app store forces developers to treat their software in a sub-par way to give customers a sub-par experience to charge uncompetitive handling and processing fees to inflate the price of digital goods," the CEO of ‌Epic Games‌ said.

Apple has said that the ‌App Store‌ since its launch has helped developers earn over $260 billion and has fostered an iOS app economy that has created over 2.2 million jobs in the U.S. alone.

‌Epic Games‌‌ has been embroiled in a massive lawsuit against Apple, concerning the ‌‌App Store‌‌, that started in 2020 and is now entering its second year. The suit and its history may be confusing for some, but we have all the details in our guide.

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Top Rated Comments

Velli Avatar
28 months ago
Translation: Apple’s app store is a disservice to Tom Sweeney.

There are sooo many stories of developers making a living off app store apps that would simply not have seen the light of day without the app store. 70% of something is more than 100% of nothing.
Score: 72 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MayaUser Avatar
28 months ago
As a developer, i must thanks Apple that App store exists in the first place
The hate for success that a lot of people shows is sad

Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iAFC Avatar
28 months ago
You don’t simply buy Apple’s hardware; you buy an iPhone because of iOS and its ecosystem. If you don’t care for it, there are plenty of Android phones that offer good hardware.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sebosz Avatar
28 months ago
Okay, don’t use it then, Tim.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Miha_v Avatar
28 months ago

As a developer, i must thanks Apple that App store exists in the first place
The hate for success that a lot of people shows is sad


I'm in App development business too, agree. iPhone + Appstore have given opportunity to so many developers and artists around the globe, can only be thankful for that.

I can be critical of Apple about different things, but regarding AppStore, I'm glad this "walled garden" exists; I gladly pay a bit more to have a store, where apps have to meet required standards and not every crap under the sun is available for download (possibly, with viruses and worms).
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Scrip Avatar
28 months ago

85% if your revenue is under $1 million, which is actually pretty reasonable. Especially on really small $0.99 or $1.99 charges. You'd be paying 28-54% to PayPal for the same privilege.
You raise a good point about PayPal and other payment processors.

Most credit card processors charge 2.9%... plus 30 cents per transaction. <--- People tend to forget about that last part.

So on lower priced apps... that's a big chunk of your revenue going towards fees.

Also... if people are so upset about Apple or Google taking 15% or 30% of your revenue... why haven't people raised up against Youtube for taking 45% of ad sales?

With Apple and Google... you get to keep 70% or 85%

But on Youtube you only get to keep 55%

?
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)