‘Fortnite’ maker Epic takes its Apple battle to Brussels

Epic Games, the developer of popular game “Fortnite” and one of the world’s largest videogames companies, said on Wednesday that it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple

with the European Commission.

  • The complaint alleges that the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPhone maker ”has not just harmed but completely eliminated competition” on the distribution and payments of apps on its popular App Store, with “a series of carefully-designed anticompetitive restrictions.”

  • The two companies have been engaged in a legal fight since August 2020, when Apple kicked “Fortnite” from the store, and revoked Epic’s developer license after the games maker found a way to circumvent the 30% fee slapped on App Store sellers.

  • Apple alleges that Epic had acted “with the express intent of violating the guidelines that apply equally to every developer.” The two companies are headed to a U.S. trial due in May.

  • Epic said that it is not seeking damages in its European Union filing, but is asking the Commission to impose “timely and effective remedies.”

From the archives (December 2020): Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon could face multibillion-dollar fines under new EU tech regulations 

The outlook: Before Epic’s complaint, Brussels had already launched, in June 2020, a formal investigation into the App Store, notably its purchase system. The Commission said it wanted “to ensure that Apple’s rules don’t distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers.”

The EU probe will be independent from the U.S. judicial trial. But the proceedings before a California court, with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook expected to testify for seven hours, will give a good idea of the legal arguments developed in the case.

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