UPDATED, 6:45 PM: Google today also barred Epic Games from its app store, which caters to Android users. As of late Thursday, neither was allowing the publisher’s uber-popular Fortnite game to be downloaded and installs on devices through their outlets. Epic then also sued Google. Read more about the case below.
PREVIOUSLY, 1:50 PM: Apple banned Epic Games, publisher of the wildly popular videogame Fortnite, from its App Store on Thursday and Epic filed a lawsuit in response.
“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines,” Apple said in a statement provided to Deadline. “We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.”
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (read it here), Epic blasted what it called “a series of anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices.” The company also taunted Apple by posting a parody of the tech giant’s legendary “1984” ad on social media (watch it below).
At issue is the 30% of revenue that Apple and Google take from all downloads on their app stores. Epic integrated a feature that enabled users to pay directly through its apps in an end run. Apple’s services division, which includes the App Store, posted record revenue of $13.2 billion in the quarter ending June 30, though app makers have long resented the fee. Antitrust complaints have been made and regulators in many parts of the world have investigated Apple’s handling of the store.
“The anti-competitive consequences of Apple’s conduct are pervasive,” the complaint charges. “Mobile computing devices (like smartphones and tablets)—and the apps that run on those devices—have become an integral part of people’s daily lives; as a primary source for news, a place for entertainment, a tool for business, a means to connect with friends and family, and more. For many consumers, mobile devices are their primary computers to stay connected to the digital world, as they may not even own a personal computer. When these devices are unfairly restricted and extortionately ‘taxed’ by Apple, the consumers who rely on these mobile devices to stay connected in the digital age are directly harmed.”
Apple’s statement noted that Epic has had its apps in the App Store for a decade, arguing it played a key role in Epic’s rise as a company. “The fact that their 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,” the company said. “We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.”
Here’s the Epic Games parody of Apple’s “1984” ad: