Fortnite’s Tim Sweeney Comes Out Swinging at Apple, Google
An attendee carries a foam pickaxe during the Epic Games Inc. Fortnite expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Fortnite’s Tim Sweeney Comes Out Swinging at Apple, Google

With Apple Inc. and Google set to face an antitrust hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Tim Sweeney, chief executive officer of Epic Games, is accusing them of being a “duopoly.”

Epic, which makes the popular Fortnite game, says the two companies’ dominant app stores charge excessively high fees to list games. Apple and Google take 30% of revenue from paid apps that use their stores. But the costs of operating an app store amount to just a small fraction of that amount, Sweeney said in an interview with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television. Epic’s own store charges a 12% fee and generates a 5% to 7% profit margin, he said.

“You can’t have a tech monopoly dominating all, all interactions between consumers and businesses on a scale of billions of users,” Sweeney said. “It just creates the same sorts of a concentration of power problems. It’s the railroads, right?”

The solution, he said, would be to unbundle different services that the tech companies offer. For example, payment services should be separated from app stores, so developers have choices.

It may also mean allowing competing stores, like Epic’s, to list in the rival stores -- something that the company has tried but failed to secure so far.

“They don’t allow competing stores,” Sweeney said. “Imagine a town that only allowed a Target and disallowed any other stores from building. I mean, that’s totally un-American and uncompetitive. But that’s exactly what Apple does in an absolute sense.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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