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New Year Honors Technology

Fortnite... for battling the biggest brands: The Drum editorial team’s best of 2020


By The Drum Reporters, Editorial team

December 30, 2020 | 4 min read

It’s that time again, when we look back at the agencies, the brands, the organizations, movements and trends that have shaped the past year. In 2020 – a year so many of us would like to forget – our industry of problem solvers proved time and again that they have what it takes to muck in, help out, ask questions, shape cultures and change the world. It is them that we celebrate in our New Year Honors.


Epic Games requested the court issue an injunction against Apple

There aren’t many brands that will take a shot at the tech giants like Apple and Google like Epic Games’ Fortnite did.

Apple currently takes a 15-30% cut of payments made inside apps. Apps that already have a credit card on file with iPhone customers and which offer in-app payment also benefit Apple. The game was removed from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store after Fortnite circumvented the in-app payment system to avoid hefty fees, instead encouraging users to pay Epic Games directly.

In response, Epic Games announced the beginning of legal action against Apple and Google, urging supporters to ‘join the fight‘ against Apple in an animated remake of the tech giant’s famous ’1984’ commercial.

The original ad ran in the 1984 Super Bowl, announcing the arrival of Apple’s Macintosh computer, and made fun of then-established firms such as IBM. Epic‘s version of the ad described Apple as a “behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition and stifle innovation”.

In its lawsuit, Epic Games requested the court issue an injunction against Apple preventing it from removing the app from the store.

Epic Games clearly knew how Apple would respond and had this ready to go live; a brilliant shot-for-shot remake of one of the most famous ads of all time. It will be hard to talk about Apple’s ’1984’ ever again without mentioning this rebuttal as it is a beautiful homage, and particularly scathing in the way Apple’s role has been reversed, going from liberator to evil empire.

Fornite’s efforts seem to have some effect on Apple as it announced in November it is halving the commission it charges smaller developers that sell software through its App Store. It said that it will collect 15% rather than 30% of App Store sales from companies that generate no more than $1m in revenue through the software platform, including in-app purchases.

The fee will remain 30% for developers that exceed $1m sales through the App Store, excluding commission payments, which means the fight for Epic carries on.

“It is a calculated effort to sow division among app creators,” said Tim Sweeney, the chief executive of Epic. ”Apple is hoping to remove enough critics that they can get away with their blockade on competition and 30% tax on most in-app purchases. But consumers will still pay inflated prices marked up by the Apple tax.”

We’ll be celebrating all our favorite things about 2020 on between now and early January. Keep an eye on our New Year Honors hub to read more.

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