Epic Games' legal brawl with Apple and Google, which kicked off in August 2020, has now reached the UK. Epic has filed a claim with the Competition Appeal Tribunal against both of them, with the same complaints that it made in the US and Australia.
Though all established in the US, Epic, Apple and Google also have registered companies in the UK and EU, hence the dispute coming to these shores. The claim was made late last year, but the notice was only published on January 14 (cheers, Gamesindustry.biz (opens in new tab)).
Epic's claims against Apple (opens in new tab) and Google (opens in new tab) will be familiar to anyone who has followed the months-long dispute. It began when Apple and Google decided they were not OK with Epic adding a direct payment option to the mobile version of Fortnite—so Apple and Google couldn't get their cut—prompting them to remove the game from the stores.
Apple and Google claim that Epic knowingly broke the rules, while Epic claims that their dominance over the mobile market is anti-competitive. It announced that it was suing Apple (opens in new tab) by lampooning one of Apple's old adds and leveraging its mostly very young fanbase. There's even merch and skins, and of course a Fortnite tournament (opens in new tab).
Epic is hoping that the Tribunal will make a declaration that certain terms of the Developer Program License Agreement (DPLA) that is has with Apple are unlawful, along with the removal of Fortnite from the App Store and Play Store. It wants Fortnite to be restored, and for Apple to be stopped from restricting the download of the Epic Games Store or Epic's apps. It also seeks an order that would stop Google from insisting that the Play Store be pre-installed on Android devices, or any other preferential treatment it receives compared to other app stores.
On January 21, Epic will meet with the Tribunal to plead its case, and once again it won't be seeking damages. From the start, Epic and CEO Tim Sweeney have painted the dispute as a David and Goliath brawl where Epic wants to improve the mobile ecosystem and not just make more money. Epic, of course, is no David, and was worth around $17 billion last year.
In the US, things are further along, with an actual trial for the Epic vs. Apple case scheduled for May (opens in new tab). In the meantime, Apple has been ordered to leave Unreal Engine and Epic subsidiaries alone (opens in new tab). A temporary restraining order was upgraded in October, stopping Apple from being able to retaliate by taking action against Epic Affiliates until there's been an outcome to the litigation.