Epic Games, the game engine developer and creator of the hugely popular Fortnite game, keeps the focus directly on antitrust issues in its lawsuit against Apple as pressures grow to curb the anti-competitive practices of most the world’s largest technology companies.
Antitrust arguments are gaining ground on both sides of the political spectrum, which could present a more favorable environment for Epic to make its case.
Earlier this month the Trump’s Justice Department has filed its antitrust case against Google even when Congress presented its roadmap for how to limit the monopoly power of a quarter of a trillion companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet (Google’s parent company).
Epic’s lawyers acknowledged in the filing that the company violated its contract with Apple, but said it only took this step because Apple’s contractual restrictions are illegal, according to the company.
“When Epic took steps to allow iOS device consumers to make these payments directly, it violated some of the contractual restrictions that Apple imposes on iOS developers,” the lawyers wrote. “Epic did this because these contractual restrictions are illegal. Epic chose to take a stand against Apple’s monopoly to illustrate that competition could exist in iOS, and that consumers would welcome it and benefit from it. Epic did just that. without prior notice to Apple because Apple would otherwise have used its monopoly control to prevent this competition from happening. “
Ultimately, the argument is whether Apple can claim ownership of the business that takes place on the phones they make and through the market that companies are forced to use to access users of these phones.
“It’s a silly, wrong view,” according to a tweet from Epic Games founder and executive director, Tim Sweeney.
The argument that Epic makes in court is that Apple’s contractual restrictions are anti-competitive and deny choice to developers and consumers.
From Epic’s perspective, he took the steps he did to create an in-game marketplace that his players could access directly, to prove that the App Store isn’t a necessary part of the iOS ecosystem; “They’re just the tools that Apple uses to maintain its monopoly,” the company’s lawyers wrote.
“Apple is not entitled to the fruits of Epic’s work, other than the rights deriving from a contract. Consumers who choose to make in-app purchases at Fortnite pay for Epic’s creativity, innovation and effort – to enjoy of an experience that Epic has conceived, ”the company said in its presentation.
The legal confrontation between one of the world’s most valuable technology companies and one of the fastest growing (and incredibly popular) stars of the technology industry began in August when Epic Games introduced a new payment mechanism to its Fortnite app that allows gamers to directly purchase their in-game currency and bypass Apple’s in-app purchase framework.
The company has pushed the same update to its Android game, as well. Both Apple and Alphabet have responded by taking the company’s Fortnite game from their app stores.
Earlier this month, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, held a temporary restraining order issued in September in place which simultaneously protects Epic’s Unreal Engine from vendettas by Apple, while also allowing Apple to keep Epic’s Fortnite game out of its App Store.