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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.

Alabama trying to use COVID relief funds to expand prisons

Inside the Julia Tutwiler Correctional Facility in Wetumpka, Alabama in 2018. Photo: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Alabama state lawmakers are trying to funnel up to $400 million of the state's American Rescue Plan funds to pay for a $1.3 billion plan to build and renovate prisons across the state, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Diverting dollars from the COVID-relief package, passed in March, is prompting criticism over misuse.

55 mins ago - World

Jake Sullivan discussed human rights and Yemen with Saudi crown prince

MBS in 2018. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed efforts to end the war in Yemen, the de-escalation of regional tensions with Iran, and Saudi Arabia's human rights record in their meeting on Monday, a senior U.S. official told Axios.

Why it matters: This was Sullivan's first trip to the Middle East since taking up his post in January, and he was the most senior visitor to the kingdom so far from the Biden administration, which has kept the crown prince at arm's length over his roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.