‘Apple has never done this before, and it kills price competition’ — Epic Games CEO slams Apple's "bad faith" compliance with court ruling, vows to fight Apple's actions in court (again)

Apple Logo from Apple Store light
(Image credit: iMore)

After the Supreme Court declined to hear Apple’s appeal, the company will finally have to let developers offer links to external payment methods, but Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney is not happy with Apple’s counteroffer. 

Taking to X, Sweeney laid out his arguments against Apple's compliance in a handful of central points, whilst calling its compliance “Bad Faith”. The first is critical of Apple’s new 27% commission taken on web purchases. Sweeney argues this will kill competition as developers will be effectively giving up a third of the income made from purchases when taking the payment processing fee into account. In this section, Sweeney said “Apple has never done this before, and it kills price competition”

The second pertains to Apple’s ability to control where developers link and how they operate. Links have to be in a separate section of the app and open a web browser, meaning you have to sign in once more and find the digital content you are looking to buy. 

Finally, Sweeney argues that a ‘scare screen’ warning the user that they are going to an external website without Apple’s privacy or security features may deter users from committing to the purchase. 

Is Tim Sweeney right? — iMore’s Take

In the points Sweeney laid out, it does seem like Apple is doing whatever it can to it can to deter consumers and developers from using this feature. This is in Apple’s interest as allowing developers to use its platform without taking a portion of profits doesn’t really make sense. Apple still has to spend resources vetting its store, keeping it up-to-date, and monitoring it, regardless of the cut it takes from developers, so it could actively lose money from a game like Fortnite if it takes nothing. 

Fundamentally, the cut the App Store would take isn’t dissimilar to that taken by storefronts like Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam. However, the iPhone isn’t a gaming platform, it’s much larger than that, as many consumers will own multiple gaming platforms but not multiple phones. Once you have locked yourself into the Apple ecosystem, you don’t often get out again. Whether or not you think Sweeney is right will depend on how you view the platform itself and what Apple owes its developers. Apple’s changes do seem to undermine the ruling but it is doing what is in its best interests and not too dissimilar to other stores that host Fortnite. Many other companies could come under fire for similarly insular tactics. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.