Fortnite maker Epic Games has launched legal actions against Apple and Google in the UK, in an expansion of its dispute with the companies over their app store policies.
Epic filed a complaint with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in a move it said is aimed at forcing Apple and Google to return Fortnite to their app stores.
Apple removed Fortnite from its app store last August over the dispute, which revolves around app store charges that Epic argues are unfair.
Epic introduced a feature into Fortnite allowing users to bypass Apple’s in-app payment systems for the purchase of the game’s virtual currency.
Apple responded by removing the game from its app store, and later removed Epic’s developer account.
Epic argues the cut taken by app stores for in-app purchases, typically 30 percent, is excessive.
The developer argued Apple and Google had abused their dominant positions in the smartphone industry, “substantially reducing competition” in app distribution and payment processes.
“We believe that this is an important argument to make on behalf of consumers and developers in the UK and around the world who are impacted by Apple and Google’s misuse of market power,” the company said.
It is not seeking damages from Apple or Google, but rather changes to the companies’ policies on in-app purchases.
Epic Games also wants Apple and Google to allow users to download apps from outside their app stores.
On Thursday, 21 January, the CTA will decide whether Epic can include the US divisions of Apple and Google in its action.
Epic has taken similar actions against Apple and Google in the US and Australia, in the US asking for a preliminary injunction to keep Fortnite in Apple’s app store.
The request was denied, with the court finding that Epic Games had caused the removal by breaking Apple’s rules, and could return the game to the App Store at any time by complying with them.
Apple said Epic’s action was “reckless”.
The company said its priority is to create a “safe and trusted place” for users to download software, with rules applying equally to all developers.
“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines,” Apple stated.
“Their reckless behaviour made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making this clear to courts in the UK.”
Google said its policies allow the use of multiple app stores, and that its Play Store policies are consistent, “fair to developers” and address safety concerns.
It said it would “continue discussions” with Epic over the Play Store concerns.
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