Google and Apple Inc have removed the popular game Fortnite from their respective app stores due to the company violating the payment guidelines. This action has resulted in Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite to file antitrust lawsuits that challenges Google and Apple rules. Google and Apple both claimed the violation stems from a direct pay feature that the Fortnite app released last Thursday as its reasoning for the app removal from their respective stores. The lawsuit fielded in Federal court is not seeking any monetary damages from either Google or Apple but is asking the court to issue injunctions that would put an end to practises relating to both app stores.
In its lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California, Epic states: “Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation. Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched, and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear.”
Epic Address Issues with Apple on Social Media
As a result of the actions of Apple, Epic turned to social media to launch a campaign called #FreeFortnite. It is urging its players to request refunds for the apps purchase from Apple if access to the game is lost. In essence, they are creating a parody of sorts from a famous television commercial of Apple’s. The parody, which has garnered substantial views, shows a female Fortnite fighter throwing a unicorn-shaped club as she smashed a screen whereby a character talks about “the anniversary of the platform unification directives.”
All apps sold on Apples App Store are accessed a 15-30% take for most app payments and or subscriptions. However, there are some exceptions for those companies whereby companies have a registered credit card on file iPhone and iPad users, but only if an in-app payment option is offered that benefits Apple. It is the belief of industry annalists that video games are the biggest component for revenue from the App store, which is a major contributor to the $46.3 billion generated in the services segment.
Apple, in a statement, said that Fortnite was removed due to Epic Games purposefully released an in-app payment feature that was meant to violate the guidelines set out by the App Store. This comes after Epic has had their apps available through Apple for over a decade. Apple added: “The fact that their [Epic] business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users.”