'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store

'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store
© Getty Images

Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple Thursday after its wildly popular video game "Fortnite" was removed from the App Store.

The suit, filed Northern California federal court, argues that Fortnite's removal constitutes “anticompetitive conduct.” 

Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games released a feature allowing iOS users to pick whether to make in-app purchases through the App Store or from Epic directly, which would save them 20 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

Apple requires developers that use its platform to also use Apple's payment methods, which give the tech giant a 30 percent cut of all in-app revenue, which is the only way Epic makes money. In some rare cases, the fee is 15 percent.

That policy has come under increased scrutiny recently, with developers, European antitrust regulators and members of Congress raising concerns about Apple's monopoly power.

"Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market,” Epic's complaint reads.

Epic is seeking injunctive relief to "allow fair competition" in the iOS distribution and iOS in-app payment markets. It is not seeking monetary compensation.

Apple had made some exceptions in the past to its strict in-app payment policies. It also allows some developers, such as Spotify and Amazon, to collect subscription fees outside of the app.

A spokesperson for Apple said in a statement to The Hill that Epic enabled the new payment feature "with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services."

"Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem — including it’s tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers," they added.