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Tech giants Apple and Google have removed video game Fortnite from their app stores after accusing the maker of the game, Epic Games, of violating their in-app payment guidelines.

Epic Games, owned by Chinese gaming giant Tencent, was removed from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store after Fortnite circumvented the in-app payment system to avoid hefty fees, instead encouraging users to pay Epic Games directly.

 
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Apple currently takes a 15-30% cut of payments made inside apps. Apps that already have a credit card on file with iPhone customers and which offer in-app payment also benefit Apple.

How has Epic reacted?

  • Epic Games announced the beginning of legal action against Apple and Google, urging supporters to ‘join the fight‘ against Apple in an animated remake of of the tech giant’s famous 1984' commercial.
  • The original ad ran in the 1984 Super Bowl, announcing the arrival of Apple’s Macintosh computer, and made fun of then-established firms such as IBM. Epic‘s version of the ad described Apple as a “behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition and stifle innovation”.
  • In its lawsuit, Epic Games requested the court issue an injunction against Apple preventing it from removing the app from the store.
     
  • Apple said in a statement that Epic was removed for making in-app changes with “the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines”.
     
  • “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 Games said in a statement.
     
  • “Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users.”
     
  • “We welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play,” said Dan Jackson, a spokesman for Google.
     
  • A spokesman from Spotify told The Verge that the platform “applauds the decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple’s abuse of its dominant position”.