In context: It's been a hectic morning for Epic Games. The company attempted to circumvent Apple's 30 percent App Store 'tax' with Fortnite by introducing a new direct payment system. Apple was none too pleased with Epic's gambit and responded by pulling the game from the App Store entirely.
Unfortunately for Apple, Epic has no interest in taking the tech giant's decision lying down. As we noted in a prior article, Epic has decided to file a lawsuit against Apple for what it believes to be anti-competitive business practices.
The lawsuit was filed almost immediately after Fortnite was pulled from the App Store, which suggests that Epic was expecting this sort of response from Apple. It's possible that the suit would've been discarded if Apple had let Epic's direct payment system slide, but that was probably never in the cards: Apple is known for many things, but App Store freedom is not one of them.
The legal action was announced on Twitter, and it's been filed with the Northern District Court of California. The action seeks injunctive relief to end Apple's "unfair and anti-competitive actions," which allegedly help it "unlawfully maintain" a monopoly in two multibillion dollar markets: the iOS app distribution Market, and the iOS in-app payment processing market.
Epic Games has filed legal papers in response to Apple, read more here: https://t.co/c4sgvxQUvb--- Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
Notably, Epic doesn't want monetary compensation nor does it want "favorable treatment" for itself. Instead, it is using this suit as a chance to try to force Apple to change its ways, and allow other payment processing (and distribution) channels to survive and perhaps thrive within the iOS ecosystem.
The following excerpts from Epic's initial complaint against Apple sum up its frustrations nicely:
...Apple completely bans innovation in a central part of this ecosystem, namely, any app that could compete with Apple for the distribution of apps in iOS. Through its control over iOS, and through a variety of unlawful contractual restrictions that it forces app developers to accept, Apple prevents iOS users from downloading any apps from any source other than Apple's own storefront, the App Store.
The result is that developers are prevented from selling or distributing iOS apps unless they use Apple's App Store, and accede to Apple's oppressive terms and conditions for doing so)... For example, as the sole distributor of iOS apps, Apple collects the money from every iOS user's app purchase, remits only 70% of that payment to the app developer, and retains a 30% tax for itself.
...Among the oppressive terms that app developers have to accept, Apple coerces all app developers who wish to use its App Store---the only means with which to distribute apps to iOS users---to use exclusively Apple's own payment processing platform for all in-app purchases of in-app content.
If you want to view the full complaint for yourself, you can do so right here. We'll be keeping a close eye on the situation and we will let you know if Apple responds to Epic's allegations.