Epic Games and Apple reignite feud as app store battle moves to EU market!

Stockholm, Sweden - Apple has delivered yet another blow to the creators of Fortnite by cancelling their developer account for the iPhone operating system in the European Union.

Apple has canceled Epic Games' developer account for iOS devices in the EU, making it impossible for the Fortnite makers to launch its own app store.
Apple has canceled Epic Games' developer account for iOS devices in the EU, making it impossible for the Fortnite makers to launch its own app store.  © IMAGO / xim.gs

The accounts are critical as they allow creators, like Fortnite-maker Epic Games, to distribute their apps to iPhones.

Apple's move means Epic cannot launch its own app marketplace - called the Epic Games Store – or bring Fortnite to iPhone users.

"We recently announced that Apple approved our Epic Games Sweden AB developer account," Epic Games explained in a blog post. "We intended to use that account to bring the Epic Games Store and Fortnite to iOS devices in Europe thanks to the Digital Markets Act (DMA)."

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"To our surprise, Apple has terminated that account and now we cannot develop the Epic Games Store for iOS," the statement continued.

Epic Games said this was a serious violation of the DMA, and showed that Apple had no intention to allow true competition on iOS devices.

Epic Games' long battle with Apple

Epic Games was banned from the Apple App Store after it tried to circumvent the tech giant's transaction fee.
Epic Games was banned from the Apple App Store after it tried to circumvent the tech giant's transaction fee.  © IMAGO / Pond5 Images

With the introduction of the EU's groundbreaking Digital Markets Act from midnight on Wednesday, Apple has had to allow applications from sources other than its own App Store to be downloaded onto iPhones and iPads in the EU for the first time.

Epic wanted to use this to bring Fortnite back to the iPhone for users in the European Union and offer a competing app store.

Apple said on Wednesday that following previous breaches of the rules by Epic Games, its right to kick them off its platform had been confirmed in court.

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The developer has been banned from the App Store since August 2020 following a breach of rules.

The dispute was triggered when Epic tried to go around the levy that Apple withholds from transaction made through apps downloaded via its App Store, which can go up to 30%.

A version of the app with hidden software code was slipped past the company's app reviewers, allowing users to purchase virtual items without paying Apple.

Apple kicked Fortnite out of the App Store because of the rule violation. Epic took the matter to court in the US, but lost in all instances.

Spotify joins Fortnite in pointing the finger at Apple

Spotify has also accused Apple of trying to maintain a stranglehold on app distribution.
Spotify has also accused Apple of trying to maintain a stranglehold on app distribution.  © STEFANI REYNOLDS / AFP

In its blog post on Wednesday, Epic said Apple had already blocked Epic's Swedish developer account on March 2, which had been set up by Epic Games a few weeks earlier.

Epic described the banning of the Swedish developer account as retaliation for company boss Tim Sweeney's harsh criticism of Apple's implementation of the DMA requirements.

Sweeney had criticized the planned Apple rules for other app marketplaces and accused the company of trying to stifle competition.

Under the new terms and conditions, Apple is introducing a fee of 50 Euro cents for each additional download of their app after it has been downloaded 1 million times or more in a 12-month period. To avoid this, Apple says developers can also remain in the old model and only distribute their apps via the App Store.

However, if they switch to the new system, there is no way back to the previous conditions. The company calls app installations from other sources a security risk.

Spotify also accuses Apple of not wanting to make distribution via other marketplaces economically viable for app developers with the DMA implementation.

The European Commission has named Apple one of the six "gatekeepers" subject to stricter competition rules under the DMA. The commission will also decide whether a gatekeeper fulfills its obligations by implementing the DMA.

Cover photo: IMAGO / xim.gs

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