Epic Games has taken its legal battle against Apple to Europe, filing an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union. Epic has filed similar lawsuits in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.
At the core of the legal dispute is how much control and revenue share technology giants should have in relation to popular apps. The online game “Fortnite” was kicked out of both Apple’s App Store and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play Store last year after Epic introduced a payment system that effectively cut off both companies from the 30% share of users’ spending that they had charged Epic.
Apple and Epic have been engaged in an ongoing legal battle since August when Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store. Epic had added a direct payment option to the app which bypassed Apple’s 30% cut of the action on in-app purchases and subscriptions. Epic Games immediately filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the Cupertino firm of anti-competitive actions.
Apple responded with a countersuit in September, in an attempt to force the game maker to stop using its own in-game payment system for Fortnite. Apple also accused Epic Games of theft and asked for monetary damages that went beyond a simple breach of contract.
In October, Epic filed a motion ahead of Tuesday’s hearing seeking the dismissal of Apple’s counterclaims of intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and conversion, along with its punitive damages bid.
Epic’s legal action against Apple in the European Union joins other plaintiffs including Spotify that have prompted a formal investigation by the European Commission into Apple’s allegedly anticompetitive actions.
“What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms,” said Epic founder and Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney. “We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field.”
Sweeney said that while the legal case filed in Europe targets Apple, “the broad outlines… are equally applicable to Google, though the timing may be different.”
Europe takes a different approach to antitrust issues than the U.S. does, and focuses more on the level of fairness between competitors. The U.S. focuses more on its impact on consumers.