Epic Games files antitrust complaint against Apple in the EU

The two companies are locked in a legal dispute over how Apple operates its App Store.

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Apple pulled Fortnite from its App Store in August. 

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Epic Games is taking its fight with Apple to Europe. On Wednesday, Epic, the developer of hit battle royale game Fortnite, said it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union. The complaint alleges that the iPhone maker has "completely eliminated competition in app distribution and payment processes" through a series of anti-competitive moves, according to Epic. 

The two companies have been locked in legal disputes since August, when Epic intentionally broke the tech giant's rules, which say app developers can only use Apple's payments processing service for in-app purchases. In August, Epic turned on hidden code in the iOS version of Fortnite, letting users buy items directly from Epic rather than through Apple's payment system, which charges up to a 30% commission. Apple quickly banned Fortnite from its App Store, and Epic sued in response.

Epic has positioned its legal battle against Apple as a fight over the way app stores and internet games work. It's also recruited other tech companies, including Spotify and Facebook, as allies. 

"What's at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms," said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney in a blog post on Wednesday. "Consumers have the right to install apps from sources of their choosing and developers have the right to compete in a fair marketplace."

Apple on Wednesday said that it applies its App Store rules equally to all developers and that its priority is to provide customers with a safe and trusted place to download software.

"In ways a judge has described as deceptive and clandestine, Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines that apply equally to every developer and protect customers," said an Apple spokesperson in an emailed statement. "Their reckless behavior made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making this clear to the European Commission."

The EU complaint comes in addition to legal challenges in the US and Australia, as well as a filing with the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal. Epic and Apple's legal battle in the US is slated to go before a jury later this year.