Last week, Epic Games kicked off both an internet drama and a lawsuit when it instigated legal action against both Apple and Google over barring Fortnite (and more specifically, barring Epic’s proprietary payment system that subverted the platforms’ cut) from their respective stores, which Epic deemed “unfair and anti-competitive actions” – essentially, monopolies in the mobile market. Epic isn’t actually demanding damages, merely “injunctive relief” to allow everyone fair competition in those markets, all of which would set it up nicely for its own mobile store.
The question at this point isn’t why Epic’s doing this or whether it can afford it but whether it will succeed. And it just might. Polygon did an explainer this weekend quoting multiple antitrust legal experts; one said Epic’s suit relied on “strong legal theories” and isn’t just bullshit meant to whip gamers into a frenzy like the looped video that played in Fortnite last week. A second said suggested that Epic’s in a good spot thanks to public opinion (which we assume is why the company is clearly attempting to win gamers to its side). The US House of Representatives’ chairman of the antitrust subcommittee called Apple’s “tax” literally “highway robbery” that “would not exist in a competitive marketplace.”
“[Apple] is saying that if you’re going to use the App Store, then you have to use our payment processing service; you can’t use your own,” the fourth legal expert said. “It’s not a problem to be a monopoly. It’s not a problem under the law to have market power. It’s when you use that to restrain competition.”