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Epic Games files EU antitrust complaint against Apple

Epic Games said on Wednesday it filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with European Union regulators, opening a new front in its war with the tech giant over app store payments.

Epic — which makes the popular video game Fortnite — is locked in a battle with Apple over the app store, which takes a 30 percent cut from all in-app purchases. When Epic tried last year to bypass the platform with a direct payment system, Apple dropped the Fortnite app from its app store. In return, Epic filed legal challenges in the US, Australia, and Britain.

In its complaint to the European Commission’s competition watchdog, Epic alleged that Apple’s restrictions have eliminated competition in the app distribution and payment. It accused Apple of blocking competitors and abusing its dominant position, in breach of EU rules.

“What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in an online post. “We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field,” he added.

Apple said Epic introduced a payment feature that it did not review or approve, with the intention of violating app store guidelines that apply equally to every developer and are aimed at protecting customers.

“Their reckless behaviour made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making this clear to the European Commission, Apple said in a statement.

In India, Apple has doubled its business over the last quarter as the iPhone maker spoke about the size of the opportunity in the country earlier in Jan 2021.

“If you take India as an example, we doubled our business last quarter compared to the year-ago quarter. But our absolute level of business there is still quite low relative to the size of the opportunity,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during an earnings call following its first-quarter results for FY21.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

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