Banning 'Fortnite' from the App Store won't stop what's coming
|Paul Sweeting||Aug 31, 2020|
Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney is by most accounts a pretty feisty guy, unafraid to pick a fight and rarely backing down from one. So his decision to pick fights with Apple and Google over their “unjust” app store policies seems very much in character.
It also seems carefully timed. Apple and Google, along with other major platform providers, are facing growing scrutiny for their outsize influence over digital commerce, both from lawmakers and from federal and state antitrust authorities. Competition authorities within the European Union are also mounting a concerted effort to rein in their power.
While that increased scrutiny may not have any direct or immediate bearing on the litigation Epic has now launched against both companies over the banning of “Fortnite” from their respective app stores, Sweeney has made it clear he sees the battle to break their grip on the mobile app economy as a long fight that he’s in until the end. Whatever the outcome, the information that is likely to be developed and put on the record as a result of the litigation will inevitably fuel the larger debate.
But there is more at stake in the conflict between Epic and the app stores than simply a dispute over payment terms and conditions, or even than the larger debate over whether and how to apply existing antitrust laws to the technology giants. The showdown is more like an early skirmish in the bigger battle to come for control over an emerging generation of meta-platforms built on top of the current generation of platforms and networks. ..(read more)
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