What you need to know
- Epic Games has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the EU.
- It says that Apple has "completely eliminated competition in app distribution and payment processes."
Epic Games has today announced that it has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Union.
In a press release today the company stated:
Epic Games today announced it has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union ('EU'), expanding the company's fight to advance fairer digital platform practices for developers and consumers.
The complaint, filed with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition, alleges that through a series of carefully designed anti-competitive restrictions, Apple has not just harmed but completely eliminated competition in app distribution and payment processes. Apple uses its control of the iOS ecosystem to benefit itself while blocking competitors and its conduct is an abuse of a dominant position and in breach of EU competition law.
Epic Games says the move complements ongoing legal processes in both the US and Australia, as well as filing in the UK.
Epic Games found and CEO Tim Sweeney stated that "the very future of mobile platforms" was a stake:
"Consumers have the right to install apps from sources of their choosing and developers have the right to compete in a fair marketplace. We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field. It's bad for consumers, who are paying inflated prices due to the complete lack of competition among stores and in app payment processing. And it's bad for developers, whose very livelihoods often hinge on Apple's complete discretion as to who to allow on the iOS platform, and on which terms."
In its own release, Epic says it has "faced and been harmed by" Apple's "anti-competitive" restrictions, referring back to its decision to add a direct payment feature to Fortnite last year. The move saw Apple (and Google) remove Fortnite from their respective app stores, prompting Epic Games to sue both of them. Epic also says that Apple has launched its own gaming service, Apple Arcade, whilst barring competitors from doing the same.
The release concludes:
This is much bigger than Epic versus Apple – it goes to the heart of whether consumers and developers can do business together directly on mobile platforms or are forced to use monopoly channels against their wishes and interests. Epic has asked the Commission to address Apple's anti-competitive conduct by imposing timely and effective remedies. Epic is not seeking damages from Apple, as is the case in the US, Australia, and the UK. It is simply seeking fair access and competition that will benefit consumers and developers.
Epic joins other companies who have filed similar complaints against Apple with the EU, notably Spotify.