Product reviews, deals and the latest tech news

The Fortnite boss appeals to Congress, reigniting the Epic Games vs. Apple conflict

Seeing as how Congress is about to deliberate on whether or not the App Store has to be opened up for all, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has once again attempted to ruffle Apple’s feathers.

Sweeney and others think that Apple should be compelled to let users download software from outside of the App Store. Apple maintains that its customers using iPhones and iPads are safe from fraud and identity thieves because of the App Store. Although Congress has been urged to make a decision, Sweeney has been active on Twitter in the interim.

Open forum

When Epic first started fighting Apple, the conflict revolved around the game Fortnite. Rather of have V-Bucks (Fortnite’s in-game money) sold through the App Store, where Apple takes a 30% cut of all in-app purchases, Epic implemented its own payment mechanism directly inside the game.

That didn’t work out very well, since Fortnite was ultimately removed from the App Store and never reinstated. After a flurry of lawsuits, Sweeney became the most prolific Twitter user tweeting about Apple. He now says money has nothing to do with it. In the end, the issue boils down to the right to express oneself freely. For instance, he claims (opens in new window) that Apple is “a risk to freedom globally.”

The Verge interviewed Sweeney, who stated that he isn’t the only one concerned about Apple’s apparent influence over what people say. He has previously speculated that Apple would remove Twitter from the App Store, thereby restricting the latter’s reach. To express oneself freely.

He told The Verge, “Free speech activists are particularly concerned about that, about the world’s most powerful business dominating the means of communication in particular, since Apple is utilising its control of these marketplaces to constrain speech of other platforms.”

But then he brought it back around to cash by suggesting that Apple “taxed” digital things sold on its platform but that one day it may “tax” physical objects as well.

Sweeney asserts that the government “might decide next to tax all physical products sales at 30% or 15% or another proportion and, so, demand a percentage of all Amazon’s earnings.”

Whatever Sweeney’s true motivations may be, the choice as to whether Apple should be forced to modify its practises now rests with Congress. However, he speculates that Apple’s lobbyists may have already made an impact.

“I think we’ll only know when there’s a Congress vote or a lack of one,” he told. “They certainly brought vast resources to bear onto the problem with their army of lobbyists and trade groups that are opining and lobbying and constantly injecting really false statements of the tradeoffs in the platform into the public discourse.”