The Competition and Markets Authority has been investigating Apple over complaints regarding Apple's unfair terms and conditions for app developers
Fortnite maker Epic Games has filed a complaint with Britain’s competition regulator accusing Apple Inc of anti-competitive behaviour with regards to App Store. The complaint has been made in support of an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) against Apple, which was opened earlier this month after complaints that the iPhone maker’s terms and conditions for app developers were unfair. The CMA is looking into concerns that Apple’s terms and conditions for app developers are unfair. Further, it is also investigating if the company is abusing its dominant market position over the distribution of apps on Apple devices in the UK. As per a statement from Epic Games, the terms and conditions of Apple’s App Store “prohibitively restrictive rules governing the distribution of apps and payment processing” has broken UK’s competition law.
It is to be noted that the payment policies related to Apple’s App Store have long drawn complaints from app developers as they requires them to use its payment system, which charges commission of between 15% and 30%. Apple barred Epic’s Fortnite from the App Store after the game-maker tried to avoid Apple’s 30% fee on some in-app purchases on the App Store by launching its own in-app payment system. Epic and Apple have engaged in multiple lawsuits across the world since the dispute over app payment commissions surfaced last year. In response to Fortnite’s removal from the app stores, Epic Games had launched legal action in the US and Australia against both firms and filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the EU, which is also in support of an ongoing investigation by the European Commission.
According to Tim Sweeney, founder and chief executive, Epic Games, Apple’s practices lead to artificially inflated costs for consumers, and stifle innovation among developers. “By kneecapping the competition and exerting its monopoly power over app distribution and payments, Apple strips UK consumers of the right to choose how and where they get their apps, while locking developers into a single marketplace that lets Apple charge any commission rate they choose,” he added.
In response to this, Apple spokesperson stated that Epic wants to operate under a different set of rules than the ones that apply to all other developers and that is wrong. “It is not surprising that Epic is pushing their agenda before the UK Competition and Markets Authority, as we have seen them use the same playbook around the world,” an Apple spokesman clarified.