The controversial issue between Epic Games and Apple recently took an ugly turn when the latter threatened to remove developer tool access from the publisher. Shortly after the game studio posted an announcement for its "Fortnite" players regarding the purchase of in-game currency and items, the game was taken down from the App Store. The reason behind its removal was supposedly the violation of the platform's policy. However, it seems the concluded antitrust hearing last month hints that Congress might likely side with the developers.
In July, Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with other high-profile tech company heads appeared in front of a government panel. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft's Sundar Pichai, and Amazon's Jeff Bezos were all in attendance. The Verge reveals that the interaction between Cook and U.S. Representative Hank Johnson was particularly surprising.
The company was called into question for an exception it allegedly granted to Amazon Prime for its video rentals service. In particular, it was pointed out that the internet retail giant was granted an adjustment on the fee the App Store normally charges for software sold via the digital outlet.
Johnson reportedly asked: "Is that reduced commission, such as the one Amazon Prime gets, available to other app developers?" Wherein Cook replied: "It's available to anyone meeting the conditions, yes." After more discussions regarding how the Cupertino-based tech firm handles payments and the requirements it asks of developers or publishers, it ended on an interesting note.
The official probed: "Has Apple ever retaliated against or disadvantaged a developer who went public with their frustrations with the App Store?" Cook answered: "Sir, we do not retaliate or bully people." Then added: "It's strongly against our company culture." The lawsuit filed by Epic Games covers some of the topics that were deliberated during the antitrust hearing with Congress.
Aside from Epic Games, another related news also pointed out Microsoft's and Facebook's remarks about Apple's App Store policies when it comes to streaming games. This led to the unscheduled conclusion of Project xCloud's beta test on iOS. Meanwhile, the social network service was apparently forced to remove a key feature from its Facebook Gaming app which would have allowed people to play its most popular mobile games.