- Daily Zen
Apple must soon have to open up its Garden to Eden to developers.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney condemns App Store, has once again expressed his displeasure at how it renders “a bear service for developers.” The App Store has managed to help app makers earn over $260 million since its launch in 2008.
In an interview with Financial Times, Sweeney voiced his concerns that tech giants like Apple and Google will misuse their hold over smartphones and carry it into the metaverse by trying to “dominate all physical commerce taking place in virtual and augmented reality.”
He admits that Apple’s dominance in the hardware segment is hard won but reiterates that forcing merchants to use the App Store is not fair. He states that Apple has an unfair advantage over competitors and other markets. “And that breaks all the competitive dynamics that kept the tech industry healthy.”
Epic Games CEO slams App store for its blatant use of muscle power. Sweeney says, “The problem here is a classic monopoly tie. You start with hardware. Apple makes smartphones and they profit from their smartphones — and they deserve to. But then they force all buyers of their smartphones to use their app store exclusively for obtaining digital content. They prevent all other app stores from competing with them on hardware that’s owned by a billion end users. That’s the first tie and that completely obstructs all competition and market forces that would shape better app stores and better deals for consumers.”
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney was insistent in his belief that Apple is using its position to force developers into paying more than required. Sweeney is of the opinion that “Apple should be free to offer their payment service to developers but they should have to compete fairly on margin. And competition will bring those payment processing fees down from 30% to something very competitive with the 2% to 3% that’s on the market. Or perhaps even lower if they innovate, as we’ve seen in China where payment processing fees are even lower than the rest of the world.”
Although Sweeney condemns App Store, the iOS app economy is responsible for creating nearly 2.2 million jobs in the US market.
Epic Games and Apple Store have been embroiled in a lawsuit since 2020. Sweeney condemns the App Store and has previously stated that Apple’s anti-competitive strategy has been running for much longer than anyone realizes. Apple had removed Fortnite from the App Store after its creator, Epic Games, introduced a direct payment option, which defied the App Store roles.
The Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney isn’t the only one with a grouse against Apple.
The European Commission has opened formal antitrust investigations to assess whether Apple’s rules for app developers limited access to technologies allowing contactless payments. The European Union has been engaged in a lawsuit against Apple since 2018. THE EU believes that Apple restricted access to developers by preventing them accessing the necessary hardware and software on Apple devices.
With regards to the ongoing lawsuit, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, “Apple has built a closed ecosystem around its devices and its operating system, iOS. And Apple controls the gates to this ecosystem, setting the rules of the game for anyone who wants to reach consumers using Apple devices.”
The European Parliament and EU member states have always warned about the misuse of power by tech firms like Apple, Amazon, Meta, and Google. In March 2022, they passed new laws on anti-trust regulations which are likely to come into force by the end of this year.
The rules will apply to big US firms that the EU calls the “gatekeepers of the Internet” and keep them in check so that illegal behavior is punished and there is room for healthy competition and innovation.