Apple vs. Epic: Trial and Error

Jack Stokes, Editorial Writer

A recent legal trial that has captured the attention of many tech-savvy consumers was the Apple vs. Epic Games trial. Originally, this trial was started by Epic Games after Apple removed the popular multiplayer game “Fortnite” from the Apple iOS App Store in August 2020. 

Fortnite’s game upgrades allowed players to go outside of Apple’s App Store and use Epic’s own payment processing to access recent discounts and purchases. Apple’s payment processing takes a 30% share of all purchases made with the App Store, and Epic didn’t like that and refused the terms. Epic filed the lawsuit immediately following the removal of the popular game. 

Some may be thinking, “so why should I care?” That’s a valid question. Epic wanted an option to allow payments to go through them, bypassing Apple. This means that you can no longer use your new App Store Gift Card to pay for your game upgrades like Apple promised. Additionally, you can no longer go through the App Store to quickly and conveniently pay with Touch ID or Face ID on your iPhone. 

According to Apple Support, this essentially means you are going through a third-party to complete your purchase. This has major security concerns. We don’t know what encryption standards, security measures, or technologies Epic Games, or any third party is using. We can, however, trust Apple. As of right now, everyone must go through the same extremely secure Apple payment network for in-app purchases. Shouldn’t it stay that way? 

Another concern with third party payment processing is the reliability. With Apple, they have lots of redundancy, and therefore the App Store rarely goes down. If Apple is forced to let third parties handle payment processing, the servers could be down more often than not and cause a lot of issues. This concern may only be valid for small developers, but this is yet another reason why Apple should not be forced to let companies outside of Apple’s payment processing.

In conclusion, Apple is in the right. If you are using a platform, or “store”, shouldn’t the store owner get a cut of the profits? They are providing the platform that is allowing you to sell your digital goods. Why shouldn’t Apple, or any digital “host” get a cut of the profits? They are the ones giving Epic the right to sell the App and earn money. Apple maintains the store and updates it just for companies like them. And, we can trust the security and reliability of Apple.

Devon Jenkins