Fortnite Vs Apple & Google: Explained and the Bigger picture.

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I think you might know that the biggest game in the world is not available on iOS and Android anymore. If you don’t, it is Fortnite of Epic Games. It is banned from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Playstore. This whole conflict is beyond just ‘Fortnite Vs Apple & Google’ anymore, it has wider consequences and outcome involved to it. There is a bigger picture of this issue and we will also cover that as it can affect all the smartphone consumers. If you don’t know about this issue at all or you want to understand this issue in-depth, you are at the right place.

What’s Fortnite Vs Apple & Google?

Let’s go understand some back story, Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney tells The Washington Post on June 16 that “the iOS App Store’s monopoly protects only Apple profit, not device security.” He questioned Apple for its unnecessary and excruciating policies that deal with all the developers who can turn out to be its competitors in future. Tim Sweeney kept questioning Apple and Google for many days through his news interviews and tweets for their multiple policies which make them a monopoly in their market.

How was Apple and Google were creating a monopoly? The app developers who develop apps on their platform has no option but to go abide by the regulations Apple & Google make. Otherwise, they can’t operate in their ecosystem. They charge a hefty commission of 30% on every transaction that happens in their operating system. So every App you buy or every in-app purchase you make or any subscription you pay for, a lot of that money is also going to Apple & Google. Anyone the ones who don’t wish to pay that commission can’t operate in their ecosystem. 

There are multiple problems attached to this. Epic Games doesn’t want to pay that 30 % extra money to Apple and Google. So they created their portal for transactions which offered 30% discount which they saved on the commission. The fact that Epic games added its portal is against the policies of Apple and Google. At this moment, you will believe that then Epic Games is the unwanted rebel. You are probably right but it was their smart and well-planned move. Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store after this. 

This was exactly what Fortnite wanted them to do. They had their next moves planned already. After some time, Fortnite released a video which was a parody of Macintosh ‘1984’ iconic commercial. The next day, Epic Games filed a 60-page lawsuit against Apple. The speed of the lawsuit made it clear that they made Apple ban Fortnite from the App Store so that they can file a lawsuit. Google followed Apple’s move to ban Fornite from its Play Store and even they faced a lawsuit the same day.

The lawsuit doesn’t talk about just getting Fornite back to App Store or Play Store. It primarily talks about dismantling this discriminatory commission system or providing a choice to the developers. Epic Games revealed on 17th August that Apple will terminate their account from Apple Developer Program if they don’t turn back their decisions of a separate payment portal. It will stop Epic games from updating all their applications from iOS and macOS.

Fortnite Vs Google is different than Fortnite Vs Apple

Epic Games’ fight against Apple & Google is different as Google does provide options for developers by side-loading. Side-loading on Android means uploading an App in the system through the options other than Play Store. If you know that Android is an open operating system which allows its customers to download apps from other sources as well. That is the reason why you will be able to see some other app stores such as Samsung Galaxy apps, Amazon Appstore, etc, on your phones.

Fortnite tried sideloading for 2 years through Samsung Galaxy Apps. Google always put regulations in such a manner that developers have to come to the Play Store. After conceding to such regulations, Fortnite came to the Play Store in April 2020. Fornite accused Google of making ‘Side-loading’ an impossible task for any other app.

Is charging this 30% commission fair?

Apple & Google build this platform and they deserve a cut, I believe they do. The real question is how much? If you asked me a decade ago, I would have said that a 30 % cut is pretty affordable as the other middleman like offline game stores used to take more than 50%. Now that the gaming industry has almost shifted online, this fees seems way too much as the dynamics and profit margins have evolved completely.

They all suck.

Epic Games isn’t all good, their primary goal is to avoid the 30 % charge that these companies are asking for. All the other companies like Sony and Microsoft also ask for this 30 % charge for using their platform. The whole world is asking why only Google and Apple are turning out to be the bad players.  According to Epic Games, Microsoft and Sony have a different model where the level of hardware and software resources used to manage the platform are very costly when compared to Google and Apple where the cost is negligible in comparison. There is a story we don’t know about, that Microsoft and Sony are in good relation with Epic Games. Sony even got 1.4 % share in Epic Games. Epic is discriminatory in their fight too but it doesn’t matter as they are fighting for something far more discriminatory.

If Epic Games win Fortnite Vs Apple & Google then as consumers. It will help us as the prices of all software services on the internet will decrease. And if Apple wins this then it will do nothing but make the antitrust case against them stronger.

Apple was always out of line!

The biggest problem is the fact that these policies are very discriminatory. I will tell you that Apple changed its rules for someone they can’t fight against as they were too big for Apple to fight. Yes, I am talking about Amazon. Amazon made Apple change the rules of its own game. With the launch of Amazon Prime Videos, the rules were changed so that Video streaming apps like Prime Video, Netflix only have to pay 15% rather than 30% to Apple. Just because Amazon protested and they know they don’t want to upset Mr Bezos. I will leave an article from The Verge to understand how those regulations are unfair to other apps developers.

There is one more highly disgraceful and illegal act that Apple did with 30% commission advantage. In May 2019, Spotify filed a complaint with European Commission over Apple’s Antitrust and Anti Competitive actions. I will give you a summary of the scuffle. Spotify launched its Spotify premium membership at $10 but with the 30% commission. They had to increase subscription price to $13. Next month, Apple released Apple Music at $10. They got the competitive edge as they don’t have to pay extra to Apple. They use this technique with all their services and outrun their competitors. This is a paragon of subtle antitrust moves. 

This is not the first time Apple has done this. Apple has done this a million times and probably with everything they launch. They just try to destroy their competitor by taking resources from them. Apple recently banned XCloud and Google Stadia, both are cloud gaming software, from iOS as they are an indirect competitor to Apple Arcade. Also because Apple is working on its Cloud-gaming software. I don’t hate Apple, I really admire their business model but things are going a bit south here. You can also read Apple’s business strategy for the coming years here.

The Bigger Picture

This isn’t just Fortnite (Epic Games) Vs Apple & Google. Epic isn’t the first company facing problems because of this issue. The real issue in front of the world right now is how these big companies are destroying small companies. I will give you a few examples of how these companies are ruthless when it comes to dealing with their small competitors. 

  • There is a US company known as Yelp, which is a review and networking site where you can look for restaurants, schools, clubs or public places. Google wanted to incorporate its data on google’s search engine. Google threatened Yelp to provide their data otherwise Google will destroy them and remove their existence from the internet.
  • Apple recently took PrePear, a recipe app, to court over the issue of the resemblance of the logo. The CEO of the company stated, “We are a very small company with only five team members, and the legal costs of our fight for the right of all small business owners to be able to develop their logo without fear have already cost us many thousands of dollars and the sad layoff of one of the team members. We are defending ourselves against Apple not only to maintain our logo but to send the message to big tech companies that bullying small ones has consequences.”  The whole world is mad at Apple for this unnecessary and uncalled for action against a small company.

Final Thoughts

All these big conglomerates are destroying small companies and making sure their market capital is reaching a summit of trillions. US Congress has already picked up a war against all these companies and there are many antitrust cases against them in the US Judiciary. Recently US Judiciary House summoned CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google for questioning them over their antitrust business practices. Let’s see if the governments all over the world can stop these mammoth-sized firms from acquiring economies or these companies will find their way out. Please let me know your views over this issue and the bigger picture of this issue in the comments section below.

Thank you for reading. Peace Out

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