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Image: Epic Games

Epic Games is taking its legal battle against Apple global, filing an antitrust complaint in Europe against the iPhone maker.

Why it matters: The move adds another layer to the protracted dispute and brings it to a jurisdiction that has historically been tougher on U.S. tech companies.

Catch up quick: Last September, Epic added its own in-app purchase mechanism to Fortnite, knowingly setting up a confrontation with Apple, which doesn't allow payment systems other than its own. Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and Epic immediately filed suit.

  • A similar chain of events took place with Google on the Android side, though in that case, Epic can continue to distribute Fortnite on its own outside the Google Play store, while no similar option exists for iOS.
  • Apple also countersued Epic in October, claiming breach of contract.

Between the lines: Europe uses different standards than the U.S. when it comes to antitrust issues, focusing more on harm to rivals than the U.S., which tends to focus more on the impact on consumers.

  • The complaint itself is confidential, but the EU already has a pending investigation into Apple.

What they're saying: Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement that Apple's practices are bad for both consumers and developers.

“What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms.” Sweeney said. “Consumers have the right to install apps from sources of their choosing and developers have the right to compete in a fair marketplace."

Go deeper

Feb 16, 2021 - Technology

Google and Facebook still dominate mobile apps

Data: Comscore; Note: Data reflects total U.S. Smartphone Mobile Media Users, Age 18+ (iOS and Android Platforms); Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Google and Facebook's share of the top 15 mobile apps by reach in the U.S. has increased in the past few years, despite the fact that dozens of new mobile apps, from TikTok to Zoom, have experienced record downloads.

Why it matters: Most of our time engaging with digital content happens in mobile apps. Google and Facebook continue to dominate the app economy, and through it, the attention economy.

Mike Allen, author of AM
15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."