Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, Says ‘every Politician Should Fear Apple’: Nobody is more eager than Epic Games’ CEO for the Open App Markets Act to be passed into US law.
If Congress passes the bill before the conclusion of the lame-duck session and the Republicans take over the House in January, it would compel Apple and Google to allow developers to distribute applications outside of their own stores and use alternative in-app payment providers.
For Sweeney and other software developers, it would be a watershed event because they believe the current App Store is stifling creativity.“strangling the digital economy.”
The bill’s passage, however, is in doubt. There has been no word on whether or not Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will schedule a floor vote before the end of the year, despite months of assurances from the bill’s primary sponsors, Senators Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, and Marsha Blackburn, that they have the 60 votes necessary to pass.
Meanwhile, Apple and Google have been vocal in their opposition to the proposed law. In recent weeks, Tim Cook visited Capitol Hill to speak with influential senators.
— The Verge (@verge) December 8, 2022
Ever since Epic filed suit against Apple and Google in August 2020, citing antitrust breaches, Sweeney has been using his Twitter account to lob verbal daggers at the two companies. He reserves his harshest words for Apple, which he just tweeted was“a menace to freedom worldwide.”
Sweeney and I were supposed to talk, so I messaged him on Wednesday after noticing a tweet he had posted on the topic. A Zoom meeting took place a few hours later; the whole recording of that meeting is included here.
Epic’s initial argument against the App Store was business-related, with the developer expressing concern over Apple’s market domination at a time when antitrust was a big subject among Democrats.
Adding his voice to the rising chorus that views Apple’s monopoly on iOS app distribution as a social concern, Sweeney is now on the same side as Republicans in their complaints about the stifling of free expression by Big Tech.
Sweeney thinks that Apple’s option to reject apps like Twitter is a major selling point.“every politician should fear,” whichever side of the aisle they may be on.
“I think it’s incredibly dangerous to allow the world’s most powerful corporation to decide who is allowed to say what,” he explained to me. Recently, Elon Musk personified this worry by bringing Apple into the culture wars over rumors that the company threatened to remove Twitter from the App Store, an allegation he has since denied.