The calendar has switched to another year but some things have unsurprisingly remained the same. COVID-19 still threatens the world’s population, Big Tech is still on trial for various things, and Fortnite remains absent on iPhones. Despite being one of last year’s highest-profile dramas, the fight between Epic Games and Apple seems to still have no resolution in sight. As if to stir things up again, Epic Games has apparently filed an antitrust complaint against Apple and even Google, this time in the United Kingdom across the pond.
The root cause also remains the same, of course. Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store due to an update in August that bypassed its in-app purchasing system and, therefore, evaded paying its usual 30% tax. Google followed suit but, unlike on iOS, Fortnite remains available directly from Epic Games or via Samsung’s Galaxy Store.
Even before the ink dried on Fortnite’s removal, Epic Games was already ready with a lawsuit in the US that accused Apple of monopolistic and unfair business practices. It, unfortunately, failed to make its case there when a court ruled that Apple was well within its right to ban Fortnite but also prevented Apple from blocking Epic’s Unreal Engine.
The game developer, which now owns its own store for PC games, has filed a similar complaint before the UK antitrust tribunal, arguing that Apple abused its dominant position. It insists that it isn’t seeking damages in its complaints in the US, Australia, and now the UK but only wants the court to remove restrictions on third-party payments, the exact reason why Fortnite was removed in the first place. Epic Games also filed the same complaint against Google.
It isn’t clear at this point how the UK will decide on the matter and whether it will be influenced by the US court ruling last October. The actual court battle between Epic Games and Apple has yet to start in May, making it a very long and costly road for both parties.