“Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney Slams Apple’s ‘Sour Grapes’ Response to EU Fine for Unfair Business Practices”

Everyone profits together.”In other words, Apple’s App Store was originally seen as a platform that could help the tech giant sell more iPhones, as having easy access to popular apps, like Facebook — an early App Store partner — would be a plus for consumers. Though it made some concessions for small business developers and others, it sees no model for the App Store that doesn’t involve a commission structure. Apple's bitter griping simply describes their historic, pre-monopoly relationship with app makers: the device provides great APIs, and apps provide great features to attract users. In America, the issue is coming before the District Court in Epic v Apple as Epic challenges Apple’s malicious compliance with the court’s anti-steering injunction. Sweeney also retweeted Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s video message about the fine and his concerns that Apple will find a way to avoid full compliance.

“Denial is a river that flows through Cupertino!,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, a notorious Apple critic who also sued the tech giant for anticompetitive practices, in a post on X, weighing in on today’s news of the European Commission’s historic €1.84 billion fine against the iPhone maker.

In response to the EC ruling which favors Spotify and focuses on Apple’s approach to anti-steering clauses, Sweeney writes, “Apple’s bitter griping simply describes their historic, pre-monopoly relationship with app makers: the device provides great APIs, and apps provide great features to attract users. Everyone profits together.” He emphasizes that the denial of this issue is prevalent in Cupertino, the home of Apple’s headquarters.

Cupertino, California – a city known for technological innovation, is now recognized by some as a place of denial.

It all started with Apple’s App Store, initially seen as a platform to promote the iPhone’s popularity. As Facebook became an early partner, providing easy access to popular apps for consumers, the App Store’s potential to drive iPhone sales became evident. However, as Apple’s services business grew, the company began to pressure app developers to use in-app purchases as a means of monetizing their apps through the sale of virtual goods and subscriptions. This resulted in Apple’s increasing interest in retaining a percentage of these revenues.

  • Small business developers and others were given some concessions, but Apple remained firm on its commission structure for the App Store.
  • In 2022, Apple did make an exception for “reader” apps, like music streamers, but still maintained control over the process. The company dictated who could apply for an exception, when it would be granted, how the links should appear, and how they could be advertised within the app.

After the EU’s decision to fine Apple €1.84 billion, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney expressed his support for the ruling, given his own company’s ongoing battle against the tech giant.

Tim Sweeney – a vocal critic of Apple’s practices and a lawsuit filed against the company for antitrust issues.

Sweeney has long wanted to distribute Epic Games’ popular game, Fortnite, to iOS users without having to go through the App Store or pay Apple a commission. Although the game maker won its case against Google for similar antitrust issues, it largely lost against Apple after the Supreme Court declined to get involved in a previous lower court ruling that found Apple was not a monopoly.

However, Epic Games did manage to win on one count in its legal battle with Apple. The district court judge in Northern California ruled that app developers should be able to direct their users to links or buttons that connected to their websites. This would allow customers to learn about alternative ways to pay for in-app purchases, beyond Apple’s own payment system.

In response to the ruling, Apple stated it would allow such links but would still take a 27% commission on any resulting sales.

As required by the court, Apple said it would permit such links, but decided it would still take a 27% commission on those sales — a move that Epic dubbed a case of “malicious compliance” and one which Sweeney vowed to fight.

Today, he suggested that the EC’s decision has relevance to his case in the U.S., as it describes “lawbreaking by Apple.”

In America, the issue is coming before the District Court in Epic v Apple as Epic challenges Apple’s malicious compliance with the court’s anti-steering injunction,” Sweeney wrote.

In addition, Business Insider’s Peter Kafka points out that the $2 billion fine is not just a fine – it’s an $80 billion problem. Following the EU’s decision, Apple’s stock dropped by as much as 3% in the first few hours of trading – which amounts to approximately $80 billion in market cap.

Investors react negatively to the European Commission’s decision, causing Apple’s stock price to drop by as much as $80 billion.

In response to the fine, Spotify issued a statement calling it a “powerful message” but also reminding others of Apple’s history of finding ways to circumvent regulations meant to hold it accountable. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also expressed concerns that Apple will continue to find a way to avoid full compliance with the ruling.

Spotify reacts to the fine with caution, noting Apple’s past behavior and the possibility of future evasion.

Is this the end of Apple’s anticompetitive practices? Only time will tell. But for now, the European Commission’s decision has sent a powerful message to the tech giant and serves as a reminder to all companies to play fairly in the marketplace.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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