App StoreSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has given an interview with the Financial Times.
  • He says that Apple forces all iPhone users to use its App Store to buy content, obstructing competition.
  • He also blasted Apple for forcing apps to use its in-app payment service for purchases.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has blasted Apple over its iOS App Store and business model in a new interview.

Speaking to the Financial Times he said:

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.

Sweeney also decried Apple for forcing developers to use its own in-app payment system that charges up to 30% commission on its highest-earning developers, and 15% on developers who make less than $1 million.

While Apple "won fairly" in the hardware market, he says it is using that position to gain "an unfair advantage over competitors and other markets." He said that Apple should have to compete with stores like Steam, the Epic Games, store, and more, all of which would pay commission to their owners rather than Apple. Epic Games is also suing Google over its app store business model, despite the fact users on Android can sideload apps and are not required to use the Play Store to download software.

Sweeney also said he was "terribly afraid" companies like Apple and Google were a threat to its own metaverse plans and would use their power "to become the next monopolies on new generations of platforms." He continued:

That's a huge motivator. Epic [is] fighting Apple and Google currently over their smartphone practices. If these practices continue on smartphones, they're not only going to dominate digital commerce and digital goods on smartphones, they're ultimately going to dominate the metaverse and they're going to dominate all physical commerce taking place in virtual and augmented reality.

Sweeney also stated that iPhone and Android users were "duped", as were major brands, "into handing their customer relationships over to these companies — based on the promise that they'd be able to have direct relationships with their customers."

He also stated that Apple should be banned from the "shady accounting practice" of reporting services revenues like Apple TV+ and Apple Music along with its App Store revenue in order to conceal how much it makes from the App Store. He said Apple's App Store was a "disservice to developers."