Epic Games takes Apple fight to EU antitrust regulators

Fortnite creator Epic Games has taken its fight against Apple to European Union antitrust regulators, ramping up it dispute with the iPhone maker over its App Store payment system and control over app downloads.

The two companies have been locked in a legal dispute since last August, when the game maker tried to avoid Apple’s 30% fee on some in-app purchases on the App Store by launching its own in-app payment system.

That prompted Apple to kick Epic’s Fortnite game off the App Store and threaten to terminate an affiliated account that would have effectively blocked distribution of Unreal Engine, a software tool used by hundreds of app makers to create games.

Epic Games founder and Chief Executive Tim Sweeney said Apple’s control of its platform had tilted the level playing field.

The company also accused Apple of barring rivals from launching their own gaming subscription service on its platform by preventing them from bundling several games together, even though its own Apple Arcade service does that.

Apple said its rules applied equally to all developers and that Epic had violated them.

Apple has been taking small steps in recent months towards changing its practices, including lower fees for some developers and giving them a way to challenge its rulings, both of which have not satisfied the company’s critics.

Fortnite is slated to come back to the iPhone at some point in the mobile Safari browser. Epic and Apple in recent weeks have been trading documents and conducting depositions ahead of a scheduled May trial in the Epic lawsuit filed last year.

The Commission, which is investigating Apple’s mobile payment system Apple Pay and the App Store, confirmed receipt of the complaint.

Epic Games has also complained to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal and to the Australian watchdog.

Big companies such as Microsoft Corp, Spotify and Match Group Inc have also criticised Apple’s App Store fees and rules.

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