Epic Games Expands Legal Battle with Apple, Google to UK

Epic's legal dispute goes international.
Epic's legal dispute goes international. / Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Epic Games has expanded its legal battle with Apple and Google to the United Kingdom by filing complaints to the U.K.'s antitrust tribunal. Epic Games submitted the complaints in December, but the notice wasn't published until Thursday.

The complaints further Epic Games' claims that both Apple and Google have abused their positions as platform holders in the market to engage in anti-competitive practices. They are the next step in Epic's campaign to restore Fortnite to both companies' app stores and to change the commission payment system in place on each platform.

Although all three companies are based in the U.S., they have also registered companies in the U.K. and the E.U.

The U.K. complaints differ slightly. The complaint against Apple seeks an order preventing it from restricting the download of the Epic Games Store to Apple devices in the U.K., and to remove the requirement that all software downloads and payments on Apple products take place through App Store.

The Google complaint seeks to prevent Google from pre-installing Google Play on all Android devices in the U.K. and pressuring phone manufacturers to prioritize that store over others. It also seeks to free phone manufacturers to make agreements with Epic Games to pre-install the Epic Games Store on their devices.

Epic Games began its crusade against the tech giants in August, when it added a direct payment option to Fortnite on mobile that circumvented the 30% commission required by the developer agreements it had made with both. Apple and Google responded by removing Fortnite from their platforms, leading Epic Games to file anti-trust lawsuits against them.

In November, a judge dismissed Apple's claims that Epic Games had committed theft as part of the dispute, focusing the case on the breach of contract and anti-trust claims. Apple reduced the commission fee on app sales and in-app purchases to 15% for developers earning less than $1 million per year later that month.

The U.S. portion of the dispute between Epic and Apple will go to trial in May. Epic Games will make its case to the U.K. antitrust tribunal Jan. 21.