Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

"Fortnite's" Epic Battle With Apple and Google Escalates

By Danny Vena - Updated Aug 14, 2020 at 4:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The game publisher is leveling strategic antitrust charges.

A tiff between Epic Games and Apple (AAPL -0.14%) and Alphabet's (GOOGL -0.61%) (GOOG -0.55%) Google spilled over into the courts Thursday. The publisher of the well-known battle royale game Fortnite had picked a fight with the tech giants earlier that day, adding a direct payment option and encouraging its mobile app users to bypass the regular payment process, violating app store rules.

The move allowed Epic Games to cut Apple and Google out of the 30% royalty they collect on such in-game purchases, escalating the punch-up.

Animated characters holding guns and swords, preparing for battle, in a screenshot from Epic Games Fortnite.

A screen shot from Fortnite. Image source: Epic Games.

Battle royale

Apple responded by removing Fortnite from the App Store, saying that the new payment feature violated the terms of their agreement. "Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result, their Fortnite app has been removed from the store," an Apple spokesperson said. 

Hours later, Google took a similar stance, dropping Fortnite from the Google Play Store. The company defended the decision saying, "We can no longer make [Fortnite] available on [the Google Play Store] because it violates our policies." 

Epic Games responded by filing parallel lawsuits, alleging antitrust violations, saying the companies have a monopoly over apps available in their respective app stores, as well as control over the payment systems used. The complaints cite "contractual and technological barriers" that stifle Epic's ability to reach consumers.

The company also began a full-fledged social media campaign against the tech titans, using Apple's iconic 1984 commercial to cast itself as the rebellious upstart and Apple as the authoritarian regime from a dystopian future. It also cited Google's once-unofficial corporate motto, "Don't be evil," saying in its lawsuit that the company is "using its size to do evil upon competitors." 

Epic Games is no doubt using the current antitrust spotlight on big tech to buttress its case.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Alphabet (A shares) and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$165.35 (-0.14%) $0.23
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$117.47 (-0.61%) $0.72
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOG
$118.22 (-0.55%) $0.65

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
377%
 
S&P 500 Returns
123%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/07/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.