Tuesday 30 March 2021 12:17 pm

Fortnite maker complains of Apple's 'anti-competitive' behaviour to UK watchdog

Fortnite maker Epic Games has complained to the UK’s markets watchdog today over Apple’s ‘anti-competitive’ rules, after a spat that led to the game being banned from the App Store last year.

Epic took its competition complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), claiming Apple exercised unfair control over app makers.

Last August, Fortnite introduced an update that let players buy in-game items at a cheaper price than if they bought via Epic.

The new payment system would have bypassed Apple’s rule of getting a 30 per cent cut of all in-app purchases through the App Store.

The complaint claimed that Apple’s rules violated the 1998 Competition Act by prohibiting other payment methods to Apple’s in-app billing system.

Epic said it was not seeking monetary damages but wanted the CMA to stop Apple’s alleged anti-competitive behaviour.

“By kneecapping the competition and exerting its monopoly power over app distribution and payments, Apple strips UK consumers of the right to choose how and where they get their apps, while locking developers into a single marketplace that lets Apple charge any commission rate they choose,” chief executive at Epic, Tim Sweeney, said.

“These harmful practices lead to artificially inflated costs for consumers, and stifle innovation among developers, many of whom are unable to compete in a digital ecosystem that is rigged against them.”

Apple

The CMA said earlier this month it was investigating whether customers have less choice or end up paying higher prices due to Apple’s App Store rules.

Epic had previously looked to sue the phone maker in the UK, but cannot proceed due to a US trial beginning in May.

The gaming company is not the first to complain of Apple’s ‘anti-competitive’ behaviour, as Spotify and Tinder owner Match Group have also complained to regulators.

“It is not surprising that Epic is pushing their agenda before the UK Competition and Markets Authority, as we have seen them use the same playbook around the world,” an Apple spokesperson said.

“Now that they have achieved massive success through the App Store, becoming a multi-billion pound corporation, Epic wants to operate under a different set of rules than the ones that apply to all other developers. The result would be weakened privacy and data security protections for our customers, and we think that’s wrong.”

No decision has been made yet on whether Apple broke the law, CMA’s chief executive, Andrew Coscelli, confirmed.

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