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Epic Games Sues Apple Over ‘Fortnite’ App Removal

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It turns out that Epic Games’ announcement that it was doing an end-around with “Fortnite” to bypass Apple’s App Store 30% “tax” was a gambit to prompt legal action.

Earlier Thursday, Epic announced a 20% discount for “Fortnite” players who purchase the game’s virtual currency directly from the company, instead of from Apple or Google. After Apple blocked access to “Fortnite” on iOS devices, Epic Games announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, accusing Apple of anticompetitive restrictions on mobile device marketplaces.

“Rather than tolerate this healthy competition and compete on the merits of its offering, Apple responded by removing Fortnite from sale on the App Store, which means that new users cannot download the app, and users who have already downloaded prior versions of the app from the App Store cannot update it to the latest version,” Epic said in the lawsuit.

The games developer also said in the complaint that Apple’s removal of Fortnite “is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Epic’s lawsuit.

In Apple’s statement about removing “Fortnite” after the developer introduced the direct-payment option, Apple claimed that its App Store guidelines “are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users.”

Epic Games posted a copy of the lawsuit against Apple, which it was filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, at this link.

The Epic lawsuit seeks an injunction “prohibiting Apple’s anticompetitive conduct and mandating that Apple take all necessary steps to cease unlawful conduct and to restore competition,” as well as a “declaration that the contractual and policy restraints complained of herein are unlawful and unenforceable.” Epic Games also asks for unspecified monetary damages.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, has been one of the most outspoken critics of the 30% revenue cuts levied by Google and Apple. “Apple has no right to take any percent of any company’s revenue just because they made the phone people use to access the stuff,” Sweeney tweeted last month.



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