Vocal Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney says cooperating with Apple’s 30% charge is “collusion to restrain competition” and Epic has mounted a challenge similar to “civil rights fights.”
The comparison came during an interview with the Wall Street Journal at the Dealbook summit, following a move by Apple to reduce commissions for most developers — but Epic is outside of the parameters that Apple has set. Apple on Wednesday announced that the company would reduce App Store commissions for developers being paid by Apple less than one million dollars a year to 15%.
Many independent developers celebrated the announcement citing that it was a long time coming and would boost their ability to work as full-time developers. Larger companies have not shared in the excitement, with Epic’s CEO being the most prominent voice.
“It’s everybody’s duty to fight. It’s not just an option that somebody’s lawyers might decide, but it’s actually our duty to fight that,” Sweeney started. “If we had adhered to all of Apple’s terms and, you know, taken their 30% payment processing fees and passed the cost along to our customers, then that would be Epic colluding with Apple to restrain competition on iOS and to inflate prices for consumers.”
Epic Games started the lawsuit with the intention of suing Apple and pushing the company to open up their platform for third-party stores and payment platforms. Sweeney, and by extension, Epic, has inferred then declared that they are fighting a fight for the little guy, and are trying to assist the smaller developers who cannot go toe-to-toe with Apple.
“So going along with Apple’s agreement is what is wrong. And that’s why Epic mounted a challenge to this, and you know you can hear of any, and [inaudible] to civil rights fights, where there were actual laws on the books, and the laws were wrong,” added Sweeney. “And people disobeyed them, and it was not wrong to disobey them because to go along with them would be collusion to make them status quo.”
To solidify his position, Sweeney assured TechCrunch readers that his quote from the event is accurate, and he intentionally meant to directly compare the financial challenges of multi-billion dollar companies to the civil rights movement involving the rights of equality and justice for humankind.
In replies and follow up tweets, he reinforces the claim stating that “the comparison wasn’t to the wrongs being fought – there’s no comparison.” He clarifies by stating “that it is right to disobey rules that are wrongful,” holding the civil rights movement as an example of people breaking rules to fight for what is right.
Sweeney goes on to say that it isn’t even about the commission, it is about fairness. Specifically, Sweeney continues his declarations that Apple must allow third-party stores and payment processes to even begin to assuage Epic’s desires.