Epic Games director Tim Sweeney admitted to court on Monday that his app Fortnite deliberately broke the rules of the App Store by developing its own payment system. He said he did this to show the world that Apple “has full control” over the iOS operating system and is abusing that power to deny certain apps.
Sweeney made his ruling on the first day of the trial between Epic Games and the tech giant, which started in California on Monday. Thousands of app makers around the world are closely following the case, as it can have a major impact on the monopoly position of Apple and other tech giants.
The lawsuit lasts more than three weeks and, according to Epic Games, revolves around Apple’s dominant position over the software in the App Store. Creators are required to donate 30 percent of their revenue to Apple and cannot otherwise release their app on the platform. There are over a billion iPhones in circulation worldwide, making it an important market for app companies.
Epic Games found that commission too high and decided to build its own payment system in Fortnite. That is against the rules of the App Store, which caused Fortnite to be removed by Apple the same day. Fortnite is still not back in the Apple Store.
Epic Games believes that Apple is abusing its power to enforce high commissions, which is bad for competition between software manufacturers. With the lawsuit, the Fortnite maker wants to enforce that other digital app stores are also allowed on iOS hardware and that app builders are also allowed to use their own payment system. The company does not demand financial compensation for the lost income.
Epic Games ‘ lawyer opened fire on the tech giant on Monday, stating that Apple’s sole goal is to steal money from developers who would otherwise not have access to a billion users.
Apple says its exclusive payment system in iOS software is meant to keep the App Store safe for users. According to the company, users would otherwise have to hand over their sensitive payment information to unknown developers. Apple emphasises that it has created a large market from which – despite the mandatory Commission-everyone benefits. By creating its own payment system, Epic deliberately broke the contract to “hitchhike” on the platform for free, Apple said.
The trial is expected to last three weeks, but a verdict may take longer. The top of both Epic Games and Apple will appear in court in the coming weeks to testify, including Apple boss Tim Cook.