The studio behind the popular video game Fortnite, Epic Games, has brought its ongoing spat with Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) to the attention of European antitrust regulators in the latest escalation of a dispute over the tech giant’s App store payment system and download control.
The dispute was sparked in August last year when Epic launched its own payments system for its in-game currency in an attempt to dodge the 30% fee that Apple usually charges for in-app purchases on its App Store.
As a result, Apple blocked Fortnite from the App Store and also threatened to effectively block distribution of the Unreal Engine, software tools that are used by hundreds of other apps and games.
In its initial lawsuit, Epic Games said it is not seeking money from Apple, but rather injunctions that will end certain practices permitted on its app store, alleging that the tech firm engaged in anticompetitive practices by effectively maintaining a monopoly on what apps are available on its iPhone devices.
However, Apple has hit back saying that Epic may have used the incident to try and garner user support for its own competing app store.
Epic’s appeal to the European Commission’s antitrust authorities is likely to add yet another case to the already stacked pile of disputes Apple finds itself embroiled in with the EU’s regulators.
The company is already facing an investigation by the Commission over its mobile payment system Apple Pay as well as its App Store, while over in the UK Epic has also taken its fight to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Shares in Apple were down 0.4% at US$132.63 in pre-market trading in New York on Wednesday.