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Fortnite legal battle with Apple gets taken to Europe; what it means for regular people

(Image via Epic Games) Epic and Apple have been fighting over Fortnite for months
(Image via Epic Games) Epic and Apple have been fighting over Fortnite for months
Izaak
ANALYST
Modified 17 Feb 2021
News
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Epic Games has reportedly opened up a third front in its Fortnite battle against Apple, this time with the European Commission in the European Union.

Apple and Epic are already embroiled in legal battles over Fortnite in courts in the US and UK. This latest suit was filed as an antitrust lawsuit, with Epic arguing that Apple effectively runs a market without free and fair competition. They are requesting that the European Union create new policy to address this problem.

Why file yet another lawsuit over Fortnite?

The three ongoing Fortnite lawsuits are currently spread over three highly influential courts, the US, the UK, and the EU. Each of these courts has far reaching influence throughout the world, with many countries likely to follow the precedent set in one of these courts.

Critically, the European Union has a history of taking a much harder stance against massive corporations, with the political will to regulate a company like Apple, whereas the US and UK are more likely to take a less hands-on approach.

For Epic, the European Union may be the best place for them to see policies created that could let them increase how much they can profit off Fortnite. If the EU should take a hard stance against Apple, Epic would be able to exploit their new rules to effectively reinstate Fortnite on iOS devices.

Even if Apple were to try to limit Fortnite to just iOS devices in the European Union, the rising prominence of VPNs has made it ever more difficult for companies to partition their services by geographic region.

But is this Fortnite lawsuit good for consumers?

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While Epic may only care about this ruling as it pertains to Fortnite and other IPs owned by them, this lawsuit does have the potential to help regular consumers everywhere. Consumer protections and antitrust suits have a tendency to create wide-reaching legislation that opens up markets to common innovators, rather than operating as closed gardens limited to those who already have access.

Apple, of course, is supremely invested in maintaining their closed gardens as they would much rather siphon value off of every innovator, inventor, and creator who is obligated to use their platform than have to take risks innovating for themselves.

From a business perspective, closed gardens are incredibly valuable to whoever controls them; from a wider economic perspective they stifle innovation and create arbitrary limits on who can or can’t access common markets.

Even though this lawsuit is just about Fortnite for most people, it has the potential to be about so much more.

Published 17 Feb 2021, 21:49 IST
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