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Epic Games’ Fortnite vs Apple’s App Store, explained in 5 Minutes

  • Imagine this for a second: you spend weeks and months learning how to code and make an awesome game or app (hopefully not a TikTok clone). And, you want to launch it for the world to see.
  • But wait — You’ll have to agree to give Apple and Google 30% of whatever you earn.
  • Or else your app won’t be published on the App Store or the Play Store.
  • And guess what? Without being on the App Store, your app can’t run on iPhones and iPads at all!
  • So you can either: Give Apple 30% of YOUR hard earned money or throw your hard work into trash.
  • This might not concern you as much if this app is a side project of yours. But for professional app makers, it’s frustrating. They call it — the “Apple tax“.
  • Well, the Apple tax is not the only one of it’s kind — even Google’s Play Store takes a similar 30% cut. 
  • So what makes the App Store’s “tax” uncompetitive? This: On Android, if wish not to give Google your money, you can still get your app on the platform via third party app stores like Samsung’s Galaxy Store.
  • But on iOS that’s not possible. App Store is the only way to enter iPhones and iPads.
  • Spotify, Facebook and countless individual developers tried and failed to get around the Apple tax. 
  • But no one has tried as hard as Fortnite’s maker Epic Games is trying.
  • Here’s what they did which made (and continues to make) international headlines:
  • Epic introduced it’s own payments system on Fortnite and refused to give Apple the 30% cut.
  • Apple, as expected, threw Fortnite out of the App Store. And said it will “work with Epic Games to resolve the issue and bring back the game.”
  • But it turns out Epic isn’t in the mood for a compromise. It was almost standing right in front of the court waiting for Apple to throw Fortnite so it can file a lawsuit as soon as possible.
  • Which it did and along with accusing Apple of anti-competitive practices (like not allowing any other way to download apps on an iPhone), Epic launched it’s #FreeFortnite campaign and broadcasted a remake of Apple’s legendary 1984 ad.
  • 1984 is the ad Apple used to showed the world how IBM was a monopoly and Macintosh was coming to break it.
  • Epic’s remake of the ad showed how Apple was a monopoly and Epic is coming to break it.
  • Back to the story, Apple threatened Epic saying it will terminate Epic’s Developer license for Unreal Engine.
  • Unreal engine, if you don’t know, is Epic’s graphic tool. It’s used by many game creators and show producers including Microsoft, Disney, The Weather Channel, Audi, Porsche and many others.
  • But thanks to judge of the case, Apple can’t terminate Fortnite’s Developer license for Unreal Engine. But what Apple can do is keep Fortnite out of the App Store.
  • You can still play Fortnite on iPhones and Macs if you have it downloaded before the removal. 
  • But the game isn’t what it used to be.
  • First, players on Apple devices can’t play with players on non-Apple devices.
  • Second, those players won’t even get the latest season of Fortnite based on Marvel.

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