Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store Following Payment Dispute

Epic Games' Fortnite introduced direct payments earlier in the day, circumventing Apple's commission.
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Apple has kicked out Fortnite from the App Store shortly after the game introduced new payment options. That makes Fortnite, the wildly popular shooter game made by Epic Games, unavailable for download on Apple devices. The game is still available on the Google Play store. 

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report shares were up 1.7% to $459.69 on Thursday. 

Earlier on Thursday, Fortnite announced that it was implementing direct payments for in-game purchases, circumventing Apple's commission for transactions through the App Store. Under Apple's App Store terms, Apple takes a cut as high as 30% from developers for payments occurring through the platform, including paid downloads and in-app purchases. 

Epic also filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Northern California on Thursday accusing Apple of anti-competitive practices with its App Store, and asking for injunctive relief to allow fair competition.   

Fortnite is among the most heavily played games in the world, with an estimated 350 million registered accounts as of this year. According to SuperData Research, Fortnite generated $1.8 billion in revenue in 2019. 

Epic Games has made no secret of its disapproval of Apple's commissions, with CEO Tim Sweeney calling the App Store an "absolute monopoly" in July. 

Other high-profile developers, such as Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Report, have disputed Apple's platform fees. In 2018, Netflix began directing new members to pay through Netflix's own website rather than through the App Store. 

Lawmakers also raised the subject at a recent Congressional antitrust panel. At that hearing, Apple CEO Tim Cook defended App Store commissions in part by pointing out that it has never raised the fees. 

Along with other tech giants, Apple is undergoing an antitrust investigation focused on whether its terms of use amount to anticompetitive conduct. 

Apple shares are up 54% year to date. 

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