“The app store is not a service. The app store is a disservice to developers,” says Epic CEO Tim Sweeney in his latest interview with The Financial Times. In his never-ending battle against the so-called Apple App Store (and Google) monopoly, the owner of Fortnite tackles the Cupertino policy and calls Facebook an ally on the metaverse.
Last year, after Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that the App Store and its guidelines do not violate antitrust laws in the Epic vs. Apple case, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney was convicted that he knows more than the district judge as he said she “erred” on her ruling.
Ever since then, Sweeney has been tackling Apple App Store policies, especially when the company lacks to maintain the store as a safe place for users due to scam apps broadly available.
In an extensive interview with The Financial Times, he talks about his Metaverse vision with Fortnite, Apple App Store policies, and Meta’s vision on the metaverse while calling it an ally – although he could sue the company over monopoly in the future.
Apple App Store as ‘a disservice,’ according to Epic CEO
Yesterday, Apple published two independent pieces of research showing the iOS app economy now supports more than 2.2 million jobs in the US and a 118% increase in US small developer earnings over the past two years, which the Epic CEO calls a disservice to developers.
The app store is not a service. The app store is a disservice to developers. The app store forces developers to treat their software in a sub-par way to give customers a sub-par experience to charge uncompetitive handling and processing fees to inflate the price of digital goods. It’s a bizarre scheme that should never have been created… it should have been reversed as soon as the industry started to reach scale.
Tim Sweeney says that while Apple has the right to profit from hardware – “as a business, they won fairly in one market: hardware” – it can’t do the same from software. Once again, he calls the 30% cut a monopoly since PayPal charges 3% and Visa and Mastercard, 2%.
The problem here is a classic monopoly tie. You start with hardware. Apple makes smartphones and they profit from their smartphones — and they deserve to. But then they force all buyers of their smartphones to use their app store exclusively for obtaining digital content. They prevent all other app stores from competing with them on hardware that’s owned by a billion end users. That’s the first tie and that completely obstructs all competition and market forces that would shape better app stores and better deals for consumers. And then the next tie is that Apple forces all apps in their app store to use their payment processing service for digital goods.
“Current monopolies will use their power to become the next monopolies,” says Epic CEO
Sweeney is “terribly afraid” of the “current monopolies will use their power to become the next monopolies on new generations of platforms.” But, for some reason, while Apple and Google seem all bad, he says Meta has two sides.
On the metaverse side, Meta “articulated a really interesting vision.” and it’s not “building a Meta walled garden, they’re trying to contribute to standards and practices that lead towards an open metaverse.”
On the other hand, Sweeney says Meta controls the ad economy and that the revenue share for the creators is very small. But since it doesn’t concern Epic’s businesses, Sweeney doesn’t call the company a monopoly even once, as he states:
Currently, Meta doesn’t have a monopoly or even a significant user base in any core businesses in which Epic competes, or intends to compete . . . Meta isn’t doing anything that stifles us at all. You’d have to speculate about the future. But, in general, I’m incredibly happy and impressed with the degree of investment that it is making, in developing a future hardware platform.
Epic CEO’s vision shows why the district judge overturned his allegations over the App Store monopoly since Sweeney isn’t trying to stop Apple or Google but to stop the companies from taking a cut on his profits with Fortnite and its metaverse future.
In the FT interview, it’s possible to see that companies are Epic’s allies as long as they don’t interfere with its leadership in a market. As a company, it’s not wrong at all to become a leader of a segment or strive the best to profit as much as it can, but after these past years of the Epic vs. Apple antitrust case, it almost feels like Epic CEO is yelling at a cloud every time others don’t play by what he thinks is fair.
The full interview is worth reading; just click here.
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