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Fortnite publisher Epic recruits Spotify, Match, others in feud with Apple

Epic is also warning users that upgrading to iOS 14 could wipe Fortnite off their phones.
Image: Epic Games

Fortnite publisher Epic has decided to raise an army for its war against Apple.

This week, a new nonprofit group called the Coalition for App Fairness launched with Epic leading the charge, along with some other names in the app development industry both large and small. The founding membership includes:

  • Epic Games
  • Spotify
  • Match Group
  • ProtonMail
  • Tile
  • Basecamp
  • Blockchain.com
  • Blix
  • Deezer
  • European Publishers Council
  • News Media Europe
  • PrePear
  • SkyDemon

In a press release on their web site, the coalition announced its mission:

“As enforcers, regulators, and legislators around the world investigate Apple for its anti-competitive behavior, The Coalition for App Fairness will be the voice of app and game developers in the effort to protect consumer choice and create a level playing field for all,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Head of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer at Spotify.

The “app economy” benefits consumers and businesses

Every day, billions of people worldwide enjoy and use millions of apps from businesses, governments, and other organizations making app stores and the platforms upon which they run a critical gateway between consumers of digital products and services. Those daily interactions are broadly defined as the app economy which is often estimated to be worth more than a trillion dollars. Given the widespread use and importance of apps, it’s essential that all apps can compete fairly in order to drive innovation and ensure that the benefits of digital technologies are enjoyed by everyone.

“The basic freedoms of developers are under attack. We are joining the Coalition for App Fairness to defend the fundamental rights of creators to build apps and to do business directly with their customers. We are an advocate for any company that’s ready to reclaim its rights and challenge the anti-competitive behaviors that exist on app stores today,” said Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games.

The organization is accusing Apple of anticompetitive tactics in relation to its so-called “Apple Tax.” Apple’s terms of service require app developers to process in-app payments using its built-in processing solution, taking up to 30% of funds generated through their system as a processing commission.

Last month, Epic Games drew the ire of Apple when they tried to sneak an alternate payment solution into a hotfix for the iOS version of their hugely popular game Fortnite for iOS. Apple responded by booting the game from its app store and announcing it planned to terminate Epic’s developer licenses for both Fortnite and the Unreal Engine, the company’s game source code used by many game houses, as well as the backbone of some film special effects projects like The Mandalorian.

Epic has responded with lawsuits and requests for injunctions. A court did put a temporary hold on Apple’s plans to end the Unreal Engine dev license, but Fortnite remains off the app store. Epic has begun warning users against updating their phones to iOS 14, as the update uninstalls apps currently on users’ handsets as part of the update process, which are reinstalled with fresh versions from the App Store upon completion of the upgrade. As Fortnite remains off the App Store, the update could remove the app from users’ phones until the case is resolved.

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Kenny Hitt

Kenny Hitt

Kenny Hitt (@gulchcastkenny) is an Associated Press Award-Winning videographer, photographer and graphic designer, with his work having been featured by NBC, Image Comics and Scholastic Publishing. He has had a lifelong fascination with science & technology, especially in the entertainment & communications arena.
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