Epic Games has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union and has expanded the scope of legal proceedings against the technology giant by trying to appeal to the different interpretations of antitrust issues between the EU and the United States.
Last September, Epic Games added a “Fortnite” feature that allows customers to purchase in-game currency directly from Epic, bypassing Apple’s in-app purchases. This violated Apple’s regulations, which resulted in Apple withdrawing the app from the App Store.
Epic obviously had anticipated it, and it then hit a combination punch: it launched a strong propaganda offensive and took Apple to court. At the same time, Epic lobbyists are constantly lobbying legislative departments at all levels.
In August, Apple followed up and threatened to terminate Epic Games’ developer account, and countersued Epic in October, claiming that it had breached the contract. Last year, Google removed Fortnite from the Google Play Store for the same reason.
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Epic’s legal complaint against Apple in the EU has joined the ranks of plaintiffs including Spotify, prompting the European Commission to conduct a formal investigation into Apple’s alleged anti-competitive behavior.
“It’s about the future of mobile platforms,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic. “We will not stand by and allow Apple to use its platform advantages to control a digital playing field that should have been fair.”
Sweeney said that although the lawsuit filed in Europe is against Apple, “the rough outline…the same applies to Google, although the time may be different.”
Regarding antitrust issues, Europe adopts different standards from the United States and pays more attention to fairness among competitors, rather than the impact on consumers that the United States tends to focus on. Epic also filed similar lawsuits in Australia and the United Kingdom, accusing Apple of abusing its dominant position.
The European Commission has not yet commented on Epic’s complaint, which remains confidential. However, the commission’s ongoing investigation was launched last year, focusing on how Apple Pay became the only contactless payment service allowed on iOS devices. This may become a factor in its consideration of Epic’s argument that Apple’s operating system should compete The shop is open.
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