Epic Games Claims Apple Is Keeping App Prices Artificially High

The Fortnite maker has an issue with Apple App Store commission and it thinks that this hurts consumers.

Epic Games’ battle with Apple has extended far beyond the borders of the United States with the games developer putting its App Store dispute with Apple to Australia’s market regulator.

The company behind Fortnite complained to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that Apple’s stranglehold grip on the App Store represents “unrestrained market power,” and is forcing the prices of apps to stay artificially high. The Australian Financial Review reported on the news.

Epic: Apple Is a Monopoly

Epic goes on to note that Apple’s App Store commission, which is 30% for larger developers, should be in the order of single digits. At the end of last year, Apple sliced its App Store commission in half down to 15% for many developers. From the sound of things, though, Epic doesn’t believe that this is low enough. Its argument suggests that this high commission is making apps too expensive for customers.

“Apple’s conduct is symptomatic of unrestrained market power that results in significant harm to Australian consumers and the competitive process,” Epic’s submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reads. “In the absence of these anticompetitive restraints, app developers would have a greater ability to distribute their apps, leading to increased competition and innovation to the benefit of Australian consumers.”

This is just the latest development in Epic Games’ battle against Apple. The disagreement started last summer when Epic introduced a means by which Fortnite players could buy in-app purchase content for the game outside of the App Store. This allowed Epic to avoid paying Apple its commission.

However, Apple pointed out that this contravened its App Store rules. As a result, it booted Epic out of the App Store, prompting Epic to immediately file a lawsuit against Apple in retaliation. The battle has been raging since then, with Epic demanding that it should be restored to the App Store by Apple.

Apple and Epic Will Meet in Court

Epic’s argument comes down to the control that Apple exerts through the App Store, which is a major source of app distribution for many developers. It is also the most profitable major app store, thereby making it all the more important.

In the United States, Apple and Epic Games are scheduled to meet in court in May. Apple CEO Tim Cook will participate in a deposition as part of the case.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is already carrying out its own investigation into the App Store and Apple’s control of it. This is one of many antitrust investigations around the world currently looking into Apple.

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