Microsoft supports Epic Games in Apple App Store dispute

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Fortnite x Avengers is the best thing ever
Image: YouTube | Gamespot

This past Sunday, Microsoft filed a court declaration supporting Epic Games in its ongoing dispute with Apple, reports The Verge. The Windows maker asserts banning the “Fortnite” maker from the iOS ecosystem would harm other developers and consumers. The iPhone company’s fight with Epic began after it removed the battle royale game from its marketplace earlier this month.

In addition, the Information revealed Epic is working to recruit other high-profile technology companies in its crusade against Apple’s marketplace pricing policies.

Microsoft backs Epic in App Store Conflict

Microsoft Gaming Developer Experiences General Manager, Kevin Gammill, slammed Apple for threatening to pull Epic’s iOS access in a court declaration. The executive stated the electronics brand’s ban would prevent the “Fortnite” studio from updating the Unreal Engine, a popular games building platform. Gammill said forcing gaming companies to use different engines for different platforms would be “prohibitively expensive and difficult.”

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The Windows operating system publisher also mentioned Epic’s inability to issue new patches for Unreal would hurt iOS-based gamers. Microsoft used the engine to develop titles like its “Forza” racing series.

Though Gammill’s filing did not touch on the Apple-Epic App Store row, the conglomerate attacked its rival’s marketplace before. In June, Microsoft president Brad Smith urged European and U.S. regulators to investigate Apple’s marketplace policies on antitrust grounds. The executive suggested the iPhone maker’s 30 percent in-app purchase fee and direct digital sales restrictions are not justified.

Last Friday, Apple responded to Epic’s request that a judge reverse its moves against the games company by blaming the gaming studio for its predicament. The Big Tech firm argued the publisher forced its hand by trying to circumvent the App Store with a recent update. The corporation also argued its forthcoming removal of Epic from its iOS ecosystem is warranted and compared the Unreal Engine creator to a retail shoplifter.

Epic’s Anti-Apple Recruitment Drive

In public, Epic advanced its crusade by comparing Apple to a totalitarian government and holding a “Fortnite” tournament mocking the brand. However, in private, the firm has worked to find allies to support its challenge of the iPhone maker’s check out rules.

The Information reports Epic reached out to Spotify and Sonos about forming a group of high-profile Apple critics.

The music streaming service issued a press release in support of Epic’s challenge to Apple App Store policies. The Stockholm, Sweden-headquartered brand filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union (E.U.) regarding the same issue last March. The E.U. regulatory arm subsequently opened an investigation into the iPhone company’s anticompetitive behavior.

As of this writing, Sonos has not publicly weighed in on the Epic-Apple legal battle.

Though the outcome of Epic’s lawsuit is unknown, its court filings do not represent the fullness of its anti-Apple strategy. The firm’s publicity campaign indicates its working to turn the 100 million iOS “Fortnite” players against the electronics brand. The company’s efforts at building an App Store challenging alliance suggest the possibility of a future developer boycott. In the face of a popular user and partner rebellion, Apple might consider changing how it does business.

As such, Epic’s legal battle against Apple might be a losing effort, but it could still win the larger war.

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