Lawsuits are, unsurprisingly, a very common hobby in Silicon Valley. Everyone has got an idea or intellectual property that belongs to someone else that dozens of legal procedures are kicked off every day, I’m sure. Epic Games, developer and publisher of Fortnite (among other games) is no stranger to both filing and being dealt lawsuits, so why are we going out of our way to report on its latest legal procedure? Well, because Epic Games is taking on arguably the two most influential behemoths in the tech industry, accusing Apple and Google of “unfair and anti-competitive actions” on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Basically, Epic Games is tired of the companies creating a monopoly for third-party developers and want to put a stop to it.
The problems started yesterday when Apple kicked Fortnite, only one of the most popular games in the games in the world, off the App Store. See, Apple wasn’t stoked that Epic Games had implemented a new in-app payment system which bypassed the 30% fee Apple places on all transactions made through the App Store and instead sent all the cash to Epic Games.
Which obviously annoyed Apple quite a bit as they removed Fortnite off the App Store for violating store policy. Which you’d think would be the end of it, right? Nope, Epic Games wasn’t happy about this move at all and filed a lawsuit against Apple, stating “Epic brings this suit to end Apple’s unfair and anti-competitive actions that Apple undertakes to unlawfully maintain its monopoly in two distinct, multibillion dollar markets: (i) the iOS App Distribution Market, and (ii) the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market (each as defined below)”.
Basically, the monopoly Epic Games is talking about is the fact that Apple has supreme control over the iPhone, the App Store and the apps that are compatible with both, a fact which the company has abused to take advantage of both consumers and third-party developers. And, because it’s Fortnite and 2020 couldn’t be more absurd, they announced their lawsuit with a trailer. Sure, what other boundaries are even left to cross?
Thing is…yeah, it’s actually true. Apple scalps developers just trying to get by on the App Store with that exorbitant 30% cut of all sales. Yet the story doesn’t end there, this was only the first chapter as the lawsuit then expanded out to Google once Fortnite was removed from the Play Store for the exact same reasons.
“Twenty-two years later, Google has relegated its motto (“Don’t be Evil”) to nearly an afterthought and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolize,” reads the opening description of the lawsuit. The grounds for the case are exactly the same as the one filed with Apple, citing a monopolisation on app distribution and payment processing through the Play Store.
This lawsuit comes at a time when both Google and Apple are receiving plenty of raised eyebrows as just two weeks ago they were both involved in an antitrust hearing following an investigation that both companies, among others, were partaking in some seriously anti-competitive business practices to, once again, establish monopolies over various tech-related industries. While these investigations and hearings are still ongoing, this lawsuit filed by Epic Games, taking at least two of the involved companies to task, might actually serve as a pretty decent wake up call to both businesses and consumers alike.
(Source: The Verge)