Epic CEO Says Apple Must Be Stopped And Wants A Single App Store To Rule Them All
Tim Sweeney has never been once to mince words. He is especially outspoken as the chief executive officer of Epic Games and there is no disputing how he feels about the industry at large, or about Apple and Google specifically. Those two entities have been known to draw his consternation (as well as lawsuits), and in a recent interview he threw some considerable shade on both.
He wasn't picking on Apple and Google just for the sake of it. His ire with the two other tech heavyweights is with how they manage their respective app stores. As we have seen in ongoing litigation, he takes issues with multiple aspects of how their run their businesses, particularly with what he perceives as high royalty rates and policies that make it difficult to sidestep those fees.
What he'd really like to see, however, is a single app store to rule them all.
"What the world really needs now is a single store that works with all platforms," Sweeney said, according to Bloomberg. "Right now software ownership is fragmented between the iOS App Store, the Android Google Play marketplace, different stores on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch, and then Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store."
He's not wrong that there are certainly a whole bunch of app stores out there, including many others he didn't name (Steam, GoG, Galaxy Store, and the list goes on). What Sweeney envisions is there being one place where a user could go to buy software, which would then work on multiple platforms.
As nice as that sounds, realistically it's probably a pipe dream. We can look to streaming video as an example. Cutting the cord is more expensive than it used to be as the landscape becomes increasingly fragmented. While once dominated by Netflix and Hulu, we now have Apple TV+, Disney+, Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Peacock, and more all vying for our attention (and dollars) with exclusive and compelling content.
Nevertheless, Sweeney sees the prospect of a single app store as imperative. One reason is because he feels Apple, with its billion of users, has too much control and doesn't use it wisely.
"Now Apple complies with oppressive foreign laws, which surveil users and deprive them of political rights. But Apple is ignoring laws passed by Korea’s democracy. Apple must be stopped," Sweeney said.
He also admonished Google in his interview, saying it's "crazy" for the company to charge fees on payments it doesn't even process. Google's rebuttal is that its service fees were never intended to be just for processing payments, but to also prop up Android and Google Play as free offerings to users and to spur investments into the ecosystem.
He also praised Korea for its anti-monopoly policies and said, "I'm very proud to stand up against these monopolies with you, I'm proud to stand with you and say I'm Korean."
Tim Sweeney Image Source: Official GDC via Flickr