Epic Games is trying to form a coalition of ‘Apple critics’ in its fight against App Store policies

Epic Games is not a small company. It operates out of several different regions across the globe. And, as of August of this year, is reportedly worth around $18 billion. But, even as the company wages a battle with Apple, the executives have apparently realized they’ll probably need some help.

That goes beyond just the court’s assistance, too. According to a report from The Information, Epic is looking to form a new coalition. The new group of “Apple critics” would serve as a broader and even louder method of condemning Apple’s App Store policies. The report indicates Epic began the search weeks ago, looking for like-minded executives to go up against Apple. However, the search has not gone as well as Epic probably hoped.

Even with companies who support Epic’s decisions and moves, some executives might balk at the idea of joining the coalition. The Information suggests that hesitation on their end could come from not wanting to violate antitrust laws as well. At the same time, the actual purpose of an anti-Apple coalition isn’t known, either. At the very least, Epic is probably trying to find more voices to add to the mix as it tries to dismantle App Store policies as they exist today.

It isn’t clear exactly what role a coalition would play, if Epic succeeds in forming one. Companies with concerns about Apple are already having informal discussions about their issues with other like-minded companies behind the scenes. One of the people aware of Epic’s discussions with other companies described it as an apparent effort to coordinate public messaging about Apple.

Unsurprisingly, one of the companies Epic reportedly reached out to was Spotify. The report suggests Spotify has not signed onto the new coalition as of last week, but that didn’t stop the music streaming service from weighing in anyway. The company says it “applauds” Epic Games’ decision to “stand against Apple”. Here’s that company’s statement, which it released the same day Apple removed Epic Games’ Fortnite from the App Store:

We applaud Epic Games’ decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple’s abuse of its dominant position. Apple’s unfair practices have disadvantaged competitors and deprived consumers for far too long. The stakes for consumers and app developers large and small couldn’t be higher and ensuring that the iOS platform operates competitively and fairly is an urgent task with far-reaching implications.

How this all started

This all kicked off on August 13, 2020. Epic Games updated its popular battle royale game Fortnite on its own, bypassing App Store review and added a direct payment option. Epic didn’t remove the option to pay via Apple, but it did drop the price on the direct option. This was a clear violation of Apple’s App Store policies, and, as a result, Apple pulled Fortnite from the App Store.

Google, for its part, also removed the mega-popular game from its Play Store.

Immediately after the game was pulled from the digital storefront, Epic launched a social media blitz against Apple, using the “#FreeFortnite” hashtag to basically rally folks to its cause. That included an in-game event to show off a new short film called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”, a parody of Apple’s original “1984” ad. Epic also sued Apple (and Google) for what it describes as anti-competitive behavior.

Now, since then, things have only intensified. Just yesterday, for instance, Apple informed Epic Games that it will terminate the company’s iOS and macOS developer accounts entirely if the situation is not fixed by Friday, August 28, 2020. And Apple released a statement on the matter, saying it will not make Fortnite an exception to the App Store rules, nor give a pass to Epic Games.

Looking ahead

This is going to be a lengthy battle, and it doesn’t look like Epic nor Apple are going to back down any time soon. Which means this could be a legal fight that lasts months, if not longer. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes of it, which could be a few different possibilities.

What do you think should happen here? Let us know in the comments.