Apple Inc. and Google removed Fortnite from their app stores Thursday, prompting lawsuits by the game’s creator, Epic Games Inc. The moves escalate a dispute between the companies that had been brewing in recent weeks.
The disagreement stems from a longstanding Apple App Store rule saying most apps must offer billing through Apple and pay the company 30 percent of revenue. On Thursday morning, Epic began offering customers a way to directly buy items for Fortnite and circumvent the fees. Hours later, Apple pulled the app, and Google followed suit later in the day.
Apple said in an emailed statement it removed Fortnite because Epic’s changes had the “express intent of violating the App Store guidelines.” Apple said its store helped enable Epic’s success over the last decade and that it offers a “level playing field” for businesses. Google issued a similar statement but noted that Android allows for multiple app stores, unlike the iPhone.