Epic Games’ legal brawl with Apple and Google, which began in August 2020, has now reached the UK. Epic has filed a complaint with the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the two, with the same complaints it has filed in the United States and Australia.
Although all based in the US, Epic, Apple and Google also have companies registered in the UK and the EU, hence the dispute over those coasts. The claim was made late last year, but the review wasn’t published until January 14 (well done, Gamesindustry.biz).
Epic’s claims against Apple and Google will be familiar to anyone who has followed the dispute for several months. It started when Apple and Google decided they weren’t okay with Epic adding a direct payment option to the mobile version of Fortnite – so Apple and Google couldn’t get their cut – prompting them to remove the game from stores.
Apple and Google claim that Epic knowingly broke the rules, while Epic claims their dominance in the mobile market is anti-competitive. He announced that he was suing Apple by ridiculing one of Apple’s old announcements and tapping into its fan base, most of them very young. There’s even merch and skins, and of course a Fortnite tournament.
Epic is hoping the court will make a declaration that certain terms of the Developer Program License Agreement (DPLA) with Apple are illegal, as well as the removal of Fortnite from the App Store and Play Store. He wants Fortnite restored and Apple to stop restricting downloading from the Epic Games Store or Epic’s apps. It is also looking for an order that would prevent Google from insisting that the Play Store come pre-installed on Android devices, or any other preferential treatment it receives over other app stores.
On January 21, Epic will meet with the Tribunal to plead its case and, again, it will not seek damages. From the start, Epic and CEO Tim Sweeney have described the dispute as a brawl between David and Goliath where Epic wants to improve the mobile ecosystem and not just make more money. Epic, of course, is not David and was worth around $ 17 billion last year.
In the United States, things are going further, with a full trial in the Epic v Apple case slated for May. In the meantime, Apple has been ordered to leave the Unreal Engine and Epic subsidiaries alone. A temporary restraining order was updated in October, preventing Apple from retaliating by taking action against Epic affiliates until the litigation is successful.