Apple argues that its iOS marketplace isn’t a monopoly at all and claims that Epic is just an entitled company that just wants more money for itself.
Apple is fighting back against Epic Games in the ongoing legal battle over Fortnite‘s in-app payments, accusing the developer of acting in its own self-interest instead of representing the common good of all game developers, as it claims. Epic has claimed that Apple’s control over the App Store represents a tightfisted monopoly on iOS app distribution, and that the tech giant striking Fortnite from the App Store was evidence of this. To build its case among fans, Epic even recreated Apple’s iconic 1984 ad, suggesting that the company has become the faceless corporate monstrosity it vowed to defeat all those years ago.
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It’s been a long and bitter fight since Fortnite was originally pulled from the App Store, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be letting up soon. After banning the game, Apple threatened to strip all of Epic’s developer accounts from the iOS platform, including those used to support and maintain Unreal Engine; a judge prevented this, but claimed that from a legal standpoint there was nothing stopping Apple from banning Fortnite. Epic claims that it has lost 60 percent of its user base on iOS following the ban, and argues that it will suffer irreparable harm unless the game is reinstated on Apple’s platform.
Apple is thoroughly unmoved by these pleas. As reported by the BBC, the tech company isn’t at all convinced by Epic’s passionate PR campaign. Apple points out that before the ban, Fortnite made over $600 million through the App Store, and that contrary to its claims of a better, freer iOS space for everyone, Epic just wants special treatment. Apple also denies that it’s a monopoly at all, and claims that the App Store is a reasonable and affordable way to distribute software. It also points out that Epic is owned by media conglomerate Tencent, which has earned a sinister reputation for owning a disproportionate amount of the gaming industry and for being incredibly profit-minded.
“Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store.“
Apple has repeatedly offered to welcome Fortnite back to the App Store if Epic just agrees to its standard 30 percent cut, but Epic claims that to agree to this request would be “to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS,” and has refused. The company’s dogged determination to stick to its guns on this issue is surprising, and would be more surprising still if Apple’s claims are true.
Regardless of Epic’s motivations, it’s not the first company to speak out against Apple’s business practices. Companies like Microsoft (which has since vocally supported Epic’s campaign) have complained in the past about the draconian rules and regulations present on iOS. Even if Apple is right, and Epic is just acting out of entitlement and pettiness, this lawsuit could have huge ramifications for the future of mobile gaming. Sometimes the right thing can be done for the wrong reason, and the Fortnite debacle might just be an example of this.
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