Elon Musk sides with ‘Fortnite’-maker epic in battle over Apple App Store fees

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla, routinely takes aim at rivals and critics on Twitter. (AFP)
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla, routinely takes aim at rivals and critics on Twitter. (AFP)

Summary

  • Tesla chief executive calls Apple fees ‘a de facto global tax on the Internet’

Elon Musk waded into Apple Inc.’s AAPL -0.48% legal battle over the fees it charges companies that use its app store, siding with “Fortnite" maker Epic Games Inc. in its antitrust case against the tech giant.

“Apple app store fees are a de facto global tax on the Internet," the Tesla chief executive tweeted Friday. “Epic is right."

Epic sued Apple last year, calling the company’s control over software developers monopolistic. In a federal trial that concluded in May, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney accused Apple of unfairly profiting from the work of videogame makers.

Apple has defended how it operates the app store and said Epic’s lawsuit was a basic disagreement over money. It takes as much as 30% of user spending that happens on most apps within its store. The company has said it spends money to ensure that the store provides a safe, secure way for users to download apps.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is expected to make a ruling on the dispute in the coming months. She scrutinized Apple’s fees in the case and suggested the company doesn’t have enough competition and set the 30% commission arbitrarily. She also said she was concerned that Epic didn’t seem interested in paying Apple for access to customers.

Mr. Musk routinely takes aim at rivals and critics on Twitter, including Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos.

On Friday for example, he appeared to applaud the U.S. Government Accountability Office for rejecting appeals filed by Mr. Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin LLC, and another company over a contract to develop a lunar lander. Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Mr. Musk’s rocket company, won the $2.9 billion contract.

“GAO," Mr. Musk said on Twitter, appending a “muscle" emoji.

He also called last year for Amazon to be broken up after the online retail giant rejected a book about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apple has been a relatively infrequent topic of Mr. Musk’s Twitter musings. The billionaire has said he once reached out to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook about possibly acquiring Tesla and that Mr. Cook didn’t take the meeting, a recollection he reprised on Twitter Friday.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text)

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