Last year, Epic’s popular game “Fortnite” became the subject of heated litigation with Apple and Google over the rate of commission on in-app purchases. After Epic broke App Store rules by implementing a direct payment option, the game was removed from the App Store and Epic’s developer account was terminated.
A lengthy legal battle ensued, resulting in the verdict while that Apple’s anti-steering conduct is anti-competitive, Apple was correct on on all other counts. Epic Games paid Apple $6,000,000 in lost royalties but has appealed the verdict.
In an interview at the Global Conference for Mobile Application Ecosystem Fairness in Seoul, South Korea, Sweeney said:
What the world really needs now is a single store that works with all platforms. Right now software ownership is fragmented between the iOS App Store, the Android Google Play marketplace, different stores on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch, and then Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store.
Sweeney added that Epic Games is working with developers and service providers to create a system to allow users to “to buy software in one place, knowing that they’d have it on all devices and all platforms.” Epic Games already offers the Epic Games Store, aimed at PC gamers, which also charges a commission.
There’s a store market, there’s a payments market, and there are many other related markets. And it’s critical that antitrust enforcement not allow a monopolist in one market to use their control of that market to impose control over unrelated markets.
Earlier this year, South Korea passed a bill that prohibits app distribution platforms from forcing developers to use their payment method alone and. Apple will be required to offer multiple in-app payment methods in South Korea, but the company has not yet made any changes to facilitate this.
Sweeney praised the legislation and accused Apple of complying “with oppressive foreign laws” while “ignoring laws passed by Korea’s democracy.” “Apple must be stopped,” he added.
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