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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.

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