CBC Radio: Epic Games and Apple are heading to court. Experts say the case could mean big changes for consumers

May 3, 2021 Media

As a lawsuit between Epic Games, which makes Fortnite, and Apple heads to court, its outcome could mean industry-wide changes for how consumers buy apps and make in-app purchases on their devices, according to experts.

At the heart of the dispute is a 30 per cent fee Apple charges app developers on purchases made directly inside apps and games. Epic alleges that Apple is using control over its operating system and services to hold back competition.

Epic kicked off the fight last August when Apple booted its hit multiplayer game Fortnite from the App Store for implementing a workaround to Apple’s payment system that offered customers lower prices on in-game content. Apple requires most developers to use its payment system.

“Basically what Apple has is gate-keeping power. It has a choke point between millions of businesses and consumers,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project.

“They use that choke point to preference themselves through extracting very high fees, through developing competing apps and then preferencing those apps because they can see the whole kind of universe of the app ecosystem.”