CEO Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, Accused Google and Apple of Having Monopoly on App Stores

Last week, CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Alley criticizing Apple and Google for having a monopoly on their application marketplaces. He stated that Apple’s App Store is an ‘absolute monopoly.’ Sweeney added that Google’s control on the Android operating system essentially stifles competing app stores. According to CEO Epic Games, there are not several options available for distributing smartphone software outside Google’s Play Store as well as Apple’s App Store.

During the interview, he also expressed dissatisfaction with Apple and Google charging a 30% fee for in-app purchases, as per Apple and Google app store policies. Sweeney states that if every app developer could accept their payments, and avoid the 30% fee charged by Google and Apple, developers could pass those savings along to all users. Sweeney states that in this way, players would be able to get a better deal on in-app purchases, and we will have an economic competition.

Epic Games’ current hit is Fortnite which generates a massive amount of money, and the game is consistently a top performer on Apple’s App Store as well as Google’s Play Store. The company rolled out the Epic Games Store back in the year 2018 for Windows as well as Mac PCs. Only 12% fee is charged on in-app purchases by the Epic Games Store, however, it couldn’t make it to the Apple App Store due to Apple’s strict rules against competing app stores.

The Epic Games CEO said that Apple is preventing a complete category of business as well as apps from being engulfed in Apple’s ecosystem by virtue of excluding rivals from each aspect of the company’s business that Apple is protecting.

Previously, Epic Games made Fortnite available on Android smartphones not by offering the game on Play Store, but via a launcher on the Fortnite site that downloaded the program on devices. Although the move helped the company to avoid the 30% fee charged by Google, the downloading was too involved for several people, and the company had to eventually launch the game on Play Store earlier this year.

CEO Epic Games also revealed that the company still plans to bring the Epic Games Store to Android devices. He stated that Google is working to stifle competing software stores by placing obstacles in UI and blocking. The executive has long bemoaned Apple’s App Store fees, and back in 2017, he called the business models of app stores ‘pretty unfair.’ Sweeney claimed that tech giants such as Apple are pocketing a massive amount of revenue from developers’ orders without doing much to help developers.

Photo: Randall Michelson

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