Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games used his speech to a South Korean conference about mobile platform policies as an opportunity for criticism against long-time legal enemies Apple and Google. He criticized the tech giants again for their grip on the mobile apps market.
Sweeney (50) said, “Apple must stop,” to packed rooms at Monday’s Global Conference for Mobile Application Ecosystem Fairness, Seoul.
The creator of Fortnite, the online multiplayer game sensation that is so popular on mobile devices, also condemned Google search as crazy during his appearance. He criticized the company’s handling of app sales and called it ‘crazy.
Sweeney is a long-standing critic of Apple and Google’s policies regarding app stores. He then presented his vision to conference attendees – an universal app store that allows users to ‘buy software from one source, and know they will have it available on every device.
After the speech, the CEO said that “What the world needs right now is a single store which works on all platforms.” He also spoke to the press after his interview Tuesday at the Seoul conference.
Sweeny’s company is long at war with both Apple and Google. The CEO asserts that they have a combined monopoly in the mobile apps market. This includes logistics related to payments for various in app purchases.
Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney (55) blasted Apple and Google during Monday’s speech at South Korea’s conference about mobile platform policies. He claimed that the two companies are blatantly capitalizing on their dominance over the market for mobile apps.
Global Conference for Mobile Application Ecosystem Fairness, held in Seoul (South Korea), offers platform for mobile app industry professionals to debate platform policies. Sweeney, second from the right (pictured above) made a Monday speech in which he lambasted legal rivals Apple and Google. He criticized the tech giants’ gripe on the mobile application market.
Epic created its digital storefront in 2018 to allow consumers full access to its game collection. This was in an effort not only to circumvent the 30% Apple cuts on apps bought in their store, but also because Epic is a company that offers digital services.
But, Epic violated Apple’s Terms and Service, causing the Cupertino firm to remove Epic from their systems. Epic also lost its library of games. Fortnite was removed from iOS for 2020.
Google took Epic’s titles off its Google Play platform. It then stated that Epic had also broken their rules by making such a brazen move.
Google was also receiving a 30 per cent cut for any purchase on the platform. But, Google has now reduced this rate by half. Now, they take only 15 percent. Apple also has reduced its percentages in the app store at the same time.
Epic sued Apple and Google in 2020 days later. Epic argued that in-app payments and app distribution for Apple devices created their own market to anti-competition purposes, as users seldom leave this so-called “sticky” ecosystem.
Epic took the same position against Google in its lawsuit. They claimed that Google’s Play Store payment restrictions constitute a Monopoly. The Sherman Act is an antitrust law in America that established that any company or company can’monopolize, attempt monopolization, conspire to monopolize or combine to monopolize’.
Sweeny’s firm has been fighting both Apple and Google for a long time – the CEO claims that they have a joint monopoly on the mobile app market. This is over logistics regarding payments for different in-app purchases
Epic Games created Fortnite online multiplayer, which is now a huge success. After Epic Games filed suit in 2020, both Apple and Google removed the download option for Fortnite from their respective apps stores.
Epic won a small victory over Apple at court this year. Federal Judge ruled Epic must permit developers to connect to third-party payments platforms.
The ruling did however recognize that the App Store was not a monopoly and cleared Epic of all wrongdoing. Epic appealed this fact. Apple refused to allow Epic into the App Store until this appeal was heard.
Epic was also found liable for financial relief by the court, having updated its App to circumvent Apple’s App store policies. It also assisted payments via its own system.
Moreover, amid this appeal process – which is currently still ongoing – Google filed an answer and counterclaim in Epic’s antitrust suit against them, denying Sweeney’s company’s allegations that Google, like Apple, was capitalizing on its alleged monopoly over the mobile app sphere.
In the counterclaim filed last month, Google argued that it, too, is owed relief, since Epic breached its Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA) when it allowed Fortnite players who download the game through Google Play to use Epic’s own payment processing technology.
Sweeney was a vocal critic of Apple’s as well as Google’s apps store policies. At the conference, he presented his vision of a universal store, where customers could purchase software at one location, while knowing it would be available for all their devices.
Separately, South Korea also passed legislation that required Apple and Google to accept third-party payments platforms after receiving a lot of complaints last year.
The federal law that seeks to curb monopolistic behavior by companies is the first to have its type passed. Since then, both Apple and Google failed to fulfill a deadline for revealing plans to comply.
Sweeney gave praise to the Korean leaders for making the decision Monday during the conference. He said: ‘I am very proud of standing up against these monopolies alongside you.
‘I’m proud to stand with you and say I’m a Korean,’ the video game developer then declared, speaking figuratively.
Entrenched in a bitter two-front legal battle with the dominant mobile duopoly, both of whose worth is well intro the trillions, Sweeney’s company has seemed to have reached a relative impasse in its proceedings, with Fortnite still not back on either of the company’s stores, and Epic hemorrhaging money by battling high-powered attorneys from both sides.
Sweeney, however, insists his case against the companies is grounded in reason. He has been using his time at South Korea to demonstrate this fact.
According to several media outlets at the conference, “Right now, software ownership is split between the iOS App Store (Android Google Play Marketplace), different stores on Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch and then Microsoft Store or the Mac App Store.”
Then he mentioned how he is working with service providers and developers to develop a system that allows users to “buy software one-stop, and have it available on every device.”
Sweeney also expressed disapproval at the current state of mobile apps, stating to the Seoul audience, that Apple infringes on South Korean laws.
Sweeney stated Tuesday that Apple locked a billion people into one payment processor and store. Apple now complies to oppressive foreign laws that deprive users of their political rights and surveil them.
“But Apple is not following laws that were passed by Korea’s democratic government.”
Sweeney was also critical of Google’s policies regarding charging fees for transactions it does not process, calling them ‘crazy’
Google spokesperson Dan Jackson said Monday that Sweeney was wrong and informed Bloomberg. Mobile app purchase fees are not for payments processing.‘
“It’s the way we give Android and Google Play free of charge and how we invest in the many distribution and development services that support both developers and consumers around the world.
DailyMail.com did not receive an immediate response from Apple to our request for comment.
Sweeney, who spoke at the conference, stated that companies’ exclusionary policies were an abhorrent to the founding principles for the internet. He further added that Apple’s and Google’s policies are so restrictive that, if all the web was embedded after the phone, Apple and Google would block any web browsers being published on their platforms.
Epic Games maintains its digital storefront Epic Games Store for those who use PCs, not mobile players. They also charge a platform fee of 12 percent.
Sweeney spoke during his speech, “There is a shop market and a payment market. There are also many related markets.”
“It’s crucial that antitrust enforcement doesn’t allow a market monopolist to use his or her control of a market to exert control on unrelated markets.