Epic Games (developer and owner of the online game 'Fortnite') has filed a complaint with the European Commission, concerning alleged abuse of dominance by Apple. This despite the fact that Epic Games has lost two drawn out procedures against Apple in the United States.
What are the facts?
Epic Games sells the online game 'Fortnite' through the Apple App Store. When consumers make in-app purchases of digital goods on their iPhone or iPad, the app developer (in this case; Epic Games) is obliged to pay Apple a compensation of 30 percent. In order to circumvent this compensation, Epic Games introduced its own in-app payment method. This eliminated the obligation to pay the 30 percent compensation. In April 2020 and in response to Epic's actions, Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store. App developers such as Epic Games are thus obliged to use the payment method owned by Apple and are prevented from offering their own payment system for purchase of their digital goods. According to Epic Games, this leads to higher prices for consumers.
Complaint to the European Commission
According to Epic Games, Apple breaches European competition rules by making it impossible for app developers to regulate in-app purchases through their own payment system. The complaint has given rise to a formal investigation by the European Commission. Apple is, however, since 16 June 2020 already the subject of an ongoing investigation by the European Commission following a complaint by Spotify. That investigation also relates to potential abuse of dominance by Apple in relation to its in-app payment system.
That abuse of dominance by Big Tech companies such as Apple and Google is the subject of scrutiny by the Commission, is evident from the proposed Digital Markets Acts. This proposed legislation, published in December 2020, is aimed at avoiding abuse by Big Tech companies of their strong market position.
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