If you missed the news yesterday, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games implemented its own in-game payment system. In response, Epic is suing Apple. For its part, the Open Markets Institute is supporting Epic’s fight challenging Apple’s App Store monopoly.
The Verge has done excellent reporting on this, so I recommend that you check out their coverage for background information. Also, it’s worth noting that Google has also pulled Fortnite from Google Play. However, users can still install the game directly on their Android devices.
Instead, this article focuses on the response from the Open Markets Institute. The organization, according to its mission statement, “works to address threats to our democracy, individual liberties, and our national security from today’s unprecedented levels of corporate concentration and monopoly power.”
In response to the lawsuit, the Open Markets Institute emailed Game Freaks 365 the following statement from Sandeep Vaheesan – the organization’s legal director – in support of Epic Games:
The American public’s tolerance for antitrust violations and monopoly control is waning fast. The recent Big Tech hearing was the rallying cry that Americans needed, and we’re seeing a quick payoff. This lawsuit between Epic Games and Apple epitomizes the serious dangers posed by unchecked tying and other exclusionary practices by monopolists and other dominant firms.
When firms such as Apple dominate a market, they decide who participates and on what terms. They exercise state-like power without the checks and balances that come with democratic government. Epic’s lawsuit is an important move against Apple’s monopoly in the sale of iPhone apps. The federal judiciary must enforce existing antitrust prohibitions, including the categorical ban on tying by firms with power, and open the app market for iPhone owners and app developers.
The lawsuit is quite timely too. We’ve done reporting on how states are renewing scrutiny of Apple’s throttling of the iPhone. Meanwhile, Congress is probing Big Tech antitrust violations. A recent hearing in the House of Representatives featured the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.