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Fortnite maker follows Spotify in making its Apple beef public

By | Published on Friday 14 August 2020


Spotify has a new friend in ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games. And not just because they both count Tencent as shareholders. Epic has followed Spotify’s lead in taking its big beef with Apple over in-app payments public, creating a consumer-facing ad campaign to accompany a lawsuit. Good times!

Both Spotify and Epic don’t like being forced to use Apple’s proprietary system when taking payments within their respective iOS apps, because when they do so the tech giant charges a 15-30% commission. Any efforts to direct iOS users to alternative payment platforms violate the law of Apple, and can result in apps being kicked out of the firm’s app store.

Which is what happened to the latest update of the ‘Fortnite’ app yesterday when Epic sought to circumvent Apple’s payment system. A similar move with the game’s Android app resulted in a similar response from Google, although there are slightly more options for users on the Android platform.

Either way, the gaming firm clearly expected the app store bans to happen, because it was sitting ready and waiting with lawsuits and a consumer-facing video that apes Apple’s famous George Orwell-influenced ad from the 1980s.

The aim, it seems, is to use Epic’s lawyers and ‘Fortnite’s massive global fanbase to put pressure on Apple and Google over their app rules, which some argue constitute anti-competitive behaviour. Generally the beef is bigger with Apple, because there are some work-arounds with Android. Though the basic rules are the same, and – unlike Spotify – Epic is going after both tech firms.

Spotify went public with its Apple gripes last year, launching a consumer-facing website outlining its grievances as it filed a formal competition law complaint with the European Union.

Apple was pretty forthright in its response to Spotify’s website and EU complaint. It’s response to Epic’s ‘Fortnite’ update ruse yesterday wasn’t quite so bombastic but it basically said the same thing.

Which is to say, that the rules are there for good reason, everyone has to obey the rules and it’s unfortunate Epic has chosen not to. “We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return ‘Fortnite’ to the App Store”, Apple added.

It remains to be seen how those efforts work out. But in the meantime, I’m sure Fortnite and Spotify will have a great time together in the Fuck Apple party house.