Fortnite Maker Epic Games Sues Apple, Google After Being Booted From App Stores


Friday, August 14th 2020, 9:40 am
By: CBS News


Fortnite maker Epic Games sued Apple on Thursday after its hugely popular video game was removed from Apple's App Store. The company has also filed a lawsuit against Google, according to CNET.

The suits come after Apple and Google blocked the game after Epic introduced a direct payment system, effectively shutting out the tech titans from collecting fees, CNET said. 

In one lawsuit, Epic alleges that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive behavior and monopolistic practices through its app store, which is a major distributor of games and apps for Apple devices. The game maker also took to social media to rally fans to its cause, tweeting that Epic "defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices."

In its lawsuit against Google, Epic Games claimed that the company was abandoning its "don't be evil" motto. 

"In 1998, Google was founded as an exciting young company with a unique motto: 'Don't Be Evil,'" according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by CNET. "Twenty-two years later, Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought, and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolize."

The clash comes as the tech giants' competitive practices face mounting scrutiny from lawmakers and consumers. At a congressional hearing in July, lawmakers questioned Apple CEO Tim Cook about the fees charged to companies that distribute their apps and software through its App Store.

"Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition and stifle innovation," the lawsuit alleges. "Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear. At a market cap of nearly $2 trillion, Apple's size and reach far exceeds that of any technology monopolist in history."

In a statement cited by CNET, Apple said Fortnite was removed because it violated rules that apply to every developer. 

"Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services," the company said. 

A Google spokesman offered a similar statement: "While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies," the spokesman said, according to CNET. "However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play."

As part of its social media campaign, Epic ran a parody of Apple's famous Super Bowl ad from 1984, which portrayed the then-fledgling computer maker as challenging the "Big Brother" of computing at the time, IBM. Epic remade the ad to feature a talking apple, along with the hashtag #FreeFortnite.

In a blog post, Epic said it wants to save Fortnite players money by cutting out the fees that Apple charges.

"Epic believes that you have a right to save money thanks to using more efficient, new purchase options," it said. "Apple's rules add a 30% tax on all of your purchases, and they punish game developers like us who offer direct payment options."

First published on August 13, 2020 / 6:09 PM

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