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Epic Games battles to get Fortnite back in App Store

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Sep 28, 2020 - 05:49 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Epic Games will strive anew Monday to convince a judge that its hit title Fortnite should be restored to Apple’s App Store, despite sidestepping the tech titan’s standard commission on transactions.

Apple does not allow users of its popular devices to download apps from anywhere but its App Store, and Epic is challenging its practice of taking a 30 percent cut of money spent on the apps by users.

The clash comes as Apple puts priority on selling digital content and subscription services to the one billion-plus people around the world using devices powered by its iOS mobile operating software.

The commission dispute has also become a rallying cry for app makers who believe Apple’s App Store policies are monopolistic.

Major app developers including Epic and streaming music giant Spotify recently formed a coalition to press for new terms with the major online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.

Google runs a Play Store for apps tailored for devices powered by its Android software and also takes a commission, but people are free to get apps from other online venues.

The new Coalition for App Fairness advocacy group said it will seek legal and regulatory changes for the app stores which serve as gatekeepers for much of the mobile software distributed to smartphone users.

The move comes amid rising criticism of the fees and terms imposed by the app stores, and legal challenges by both Epic and Spotify to Apple’s commission for online subscriptions.

A hearing slated for Monday before a federal judge in California will focus on whether Apple should be compelled to put Fortnite back in the App Store while an overarching lawsuit plays out.

Apple pulled Fortnite from its online mobile apps marketplace on August 13 after Epic released an update that dodges revenue sharing with the iPhone maker.

The judge in the case previously rejected an emergency injunction request by Epic, saying Fortnite’s eviction by Apple was a “self-inflicted wound.”

But Epic did not back down from its fight against Apple, accusing the tech giant of being “a monopolist.”

Due to the legal row, Fortnite fans using iPhones or other Apple devices no longer have access to the latest game updates, including the new season released at the end of August.

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