Fortnite maker Epic Games just set an antitrust trap for Apple, and Tim Cook walked right into it (AAPL)

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Apple on Thursday removed the popular game Fortnite from its App Store, and in doing so, fell right into the trap set by Fortnite’s maker, Epic Games.
Epic set its snare by intentionally breaking one of Apple’s rules, offering Fortnite players an alternative way to pay for its virtual currency than through the App Store.
Apple’s response of banning Fortnite is likely to help Epic win public relations battle — and served as a case in point for the lawsuit it immediately filed charging the iPhone maker with anticompetitive behavior.
The way Apple runs the App Store has come under increasing scrutiny, but Epic’s suit, which lays out a damning case against the company, could be its biggest challenge yet.

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Tim Sweeney just led Apple right into an, ahem, epic trap — one that just might cause the iPhone maker some serious harm. 

Epic Games, Sweeney’s company and the maker of the popular Fortnite game, is accusing Apple of anticompetitive conduct. And on Thursday, Epic showed the world how. By deliberately breaking one of Apple’s App Store rules, Epic provoked Apple into flexing its unchecked power, providing Exhibit A in the lawsuit that Epic had ready to go.

Now, the other Tim — Apple CEO Tim Cook — has got to be shaking his head in wonder at how easily his company fell right into Epic’s snare.

The dispute between the two companies centers around Apple’s control over the distribution of apps on iPhones and iPads. Apple device owners can only download apps from the company’s App Store. If developers charge consumers for their apps, Apple takes a 30% cut. The company also gets a 30% cut off of sales of most digital goods — subscriptions, digital movies or books, virtual clothing for video game characters — that developers sell through their apps.

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Apple preloads its App Store on all iPhones and iPads and forbids any alternative methods of downloading apps. It also requires developers who offer in-app goods to use its payment mechanism and forbids them not only from using alternatives but, essentially, from even mentioning in their apps that users could buy the same products elsewhere for less money.

Developers are unhappy, but feel they don’t have a choice

Developers have been grousing about such rules for years. Apple’s 30% tax is exorbitantly high, they argue. And developers who already have payment processing services that they use on their websites or in other venues feel like they shouldn’t have to pay for Apple’s.

But many developers feel they have no choice. Although more people use Android devices than Apple iOS devices,  there are still some 1.5 billion Apple gadgets in use around the world — a huge market that developers would forfeit if they abandoned the App Store. And users of Apple devices collectively spend nearly twice as much on apps as do owners of Android gadgets.

Apple has long argued that it bars other app stores and payment services as a security measure and that it applies such rules even-handedly across …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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