Epic Games has announced it is filing an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission, expanding the company's fight to promote fairer digital platform practices for developers and consumers.
A complaint filed with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition alleges that through a series of carefully crafted competition restrictions, Apple has not only harmed but also established a complete monopoly on app distribution and payment. Apple uses its control over the iOS ecosystem to its advantage by blocking competitors and its behavior is an abuse of dominance and a violation of EU competition law.
The complaint complements the legal processes already started in the US and Australia, as well as Epic's recent filing with the UK Competition Court of Appeals.
On August 13, Epic Games added the ability to make in-app purchases in Fortnite bypassing Apple's system to prevent the company from charging any transaction fees. After that, the game was removed from the App Store and Google Play, and the developers of the "battle royale" filed claims against the platform holders. Epic Games asked the court to order Apple and Google to return Fortnite to their stores without rolling back the controversial feature until the end of the process, but was refused.
On August 29, Apple blocked Epic Games' App Store account, while leaving support for the Unreal Engine. The company has also filed a counterclaim against the creators of Fortnite seeking compensation for losses incurred following the addition of an alternative in-app purchase method.
Earlier, Apple announced the launch of the App Store Small Business program, which will reduce commissions from 30% to 15% for a number of monetized apps in the App Store. The program will apply to developers whose annual income does not exceed one million dollars. Epic Games does not meet this requirement.
Following complaints from other app developers, the European Commission is already investigating Apple's abusive behavior.