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Aug. 13, 2020, 4:28 p.m. EDT

Apple pulls 'Fortnite' from App Store after Epic Games offered discount to cut Apple out of purchases

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By Emily Bary

For an updated version of this story, please click here. Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.17% removed the popular "Fortnite" game from its App Store Thursday after "Fortnite" developer Epic Games began offering players a discount on in-game purchases if they opted to make a direct payment and not buy these digital offerings through the App Store. Apple charges between 15% and 30% to developers who offer in-app purchases of digital services through apps that have been distributed through the App Store. Apple didn't immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment but The Verge quotes a statement from Apple arguing that Epic Games introduced this feature without the company's approval and did so "with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments." The statement also said that Apple will "make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return 'Fortnite' to the App Store." Epic didn't immediately reply to MarketWatch's request for comment. Apple's fee policies around the App Store have come under increased scrutiny from both developers and regulators recently. Big developers including Spotify Technology SA /zigman2/quotes/207488629/composite SPOT +1.02% have looked for ways to avoid paying Apple a cut of subscription fees and the developers of Hey, a new email app, publicly battled with Apple in June after the email service rolled out its app without an option to buy subscriptions from within the app. Apple and Hey's developers eventually reached a compromise. Regulators and lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe have also questioned the company's App Store policies and whether they stifle competition. Apple shares are up 1.6% in Thursday trading and they've gained 50% over the past three months as the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.07% , of which Apple is a component, has added 20%.

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