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'Fortnite' developer Epic Games files antitrust complaint against Apple in EU

A still from Epic's parody of Apple's '1984' Super Bowl commercial

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Epic Games has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union against Apple, continuing the two companies' dispute over the App Store.

As North Dakota rejected an anti-Apple bill drafted by an Epic Games lobbyist, the "Fortnite" developer has taken its complaints to the European Union. Despite being in dispute with both Apple and Google, Epic Games has singled out Apple for the complaint, which it says has eliminated competition.

"What's at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms." says Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney in a company blog post about the complaint. "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," he continued. "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."

The Epic Games blog posts says that the company "has faced and been harmed by Apple's anti-competitive restrictions." It states that Apple's removing "Fortnite" from the App Store was retaliation for Epic Games giving users a way to pay the games company directly.

Google is not mentioned in the blog post or the EU complaint, despite "Fortnite" having been removed from the Google Play Store at the same time, and for the same reason, as Apple.

The post also implies that Epic Games has been forced into this dispute following Apple's actions, but does not mention that CEO Tim Sweeney has admitted spending months on a "battle plan" beforehand.

Epic Games does note that the European Commission is already investigating what the "Fortnite" developer calls "Apple's abusive conduct." Epic Games also says that it is "simply seeking fair access and competition," rather than damages.

Apple has not responded to the EU antitrust filing. However, it has recently commented that "Epic's problem is entirely self-inflicted and is in their power to resolve."

In the US, the dispute between Apple and Epic Games will go to trial in May 2021.