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Gamers, Companies Show Support After Fortnite Developer Sues Alphabet's Google

By Eric Volkman – Aug 14, 2020 at 4:36PM

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Epic Games' latest legal action comes on the heels of a similar suit it filed against Apple.

Sympathy poured in for Epic Games Thursday night and the following day after the company doubled down on its legal actions against Big Tech.

Shortly after bringing a lawsuit against Apple (AAPL -1.43%) on antitrust grounds for removing Epic's Fortnite video game from its App Store, Epic filed a similar suit against Alphabet (GOOG -0.89%) (GOOGL -0.72%) for doing the same with its Google Play store. The #freefortnite protest hashtag was among the top trending ones on Twitter, appearing in several hundred-thousand tweets.

Young man playing a game on a smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images.

Other tech firms expressed their support for Epic's stance. In a statement sent to USA Today regarding the Apple lawsuit, Spotify wrote that "[w]e applaud Epic Games' decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple's abuse of its dominant position."

Match Group, which operates the Match.com and Tinder online dating sites, wrote in a statement that Apple utilizes "unfair policies to hurt consumers, app developers and entrepreneurs."

Apple takes a "service fee," which is typically 30%, from all sales made through the App Store. Google imposes similar charges. 

The two companies dropped Fortnite from their respective app stores after Epic announced 20% discounts for players making purchases in-game while launching in-game purchasing. Fortnite is free to download, but players must pay to obtain add-ons. The in-game buying option circumvents the App Store and Google Play.

In separate statements, Apple and Google maintained that Fortnite was removed because it violated the terms of their respective platforms.

The pro-Epic stance expressed by many consumers and numerous companies might be affecting sentiment on Apple and Alphabet stock. In late afternoon trading Friday, the share prices of both were falling at steeper rates than the top stock market indexes.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Apple, Match Group, Inc., Spotify Technology, and Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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