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The battle between Epic Games and Apple may have hit a new height. Epic Games on February 16 this year announced its plans to bring Fortnite to iOS devices in Europe. However, in a sudden twist, the Fortnite maker said that the plan had been put on hold following Apple’s termination of the company’s developer account.

Epic Games’ Battle With Apple Just Hit A New Climax?

Back in February, Epic Games announced that Apple had approved its developer account which would allow it to bring Fortnite and the Epic Games Store to Apple devices in Europe later this year. Apple’s hands were forced open by a new EU regulation called the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The regulation aims to make sure that gatekeepers don’t kill competition with their dominant market position.

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Epic Games called the termination of its Epic Games Sweden AB developer account “a serious violation of the DMA” and said the move indicates Apple’s unwillingness to allow “true competition on iOS devices”. To further highlight Apple’s infractions, the March 6 post by Epic quoted Article 6[4] of the DMA which said:

“The gatekeeper shall allow and technically enable the installation and effective use of third-party software applications or software application stores using, or interoperating with, its operating system and allow those software applications or software application stores to be accessed by means other than the relevant core platform services of that gatekeeper.”

Epic Games’ Battle With Apple Just Hit A New Climax?

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has been publicly critical of Apple’s anticompetitive business model. In fact, Apple cited a tweet Sweeney made on X on February 26, 2024, as one of the reasons for terminating the Epic Games Sweden AB developer account a few weeks after its initial approval.

On March 2, 2024, Apple’s lawyer Mark A. Perry from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP sent a letter to Epic Games Sweden AB accusing Epic of “denigrating Apple’s developer terms, including the Developer Program License Agreement (DPLA), as a prelude to breaking them”.

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Epic Games’ Battle With Apple Just Hit A New Climax?

Apple and Epic’s antitrust legal battle dates back to August 2020 when Epic tried to bypass Apple’s 30% platform fees by offering players a new direct payment option in Fortnite. At the height of the dispute, Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store and terminated Epic’s original developer account. Apple issued a statement (as seen on 9to5Mac) saying it has the right to terminate Epic’s developer account.

“Epic’s egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple led courts to determine that Apple has the right to terminate ‘any or all of Epic Games’ wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games’ control at any time and at Apple’s sole discretion.’ In light of Epic’s past and ongoing behavior, Apple chose to exercise that right.”

🚨UPDATE From Epic🚨

“Apple has told us and committed to the European Commission that they will reinstate our developer account. This sends a strong signal to developers that the European Commission will act swiftly to enforce the Digital Markets Act and hold gatekeepers accountable. We are moving forward as planned to launch the Epic Games Store and bring Fortnite back to iOS in Europe. Onward!”

European Union regulators have jumped on the Epic Games developer account termination matter

Epic Games’ Battle With Apple Just Hit A New Climax?

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook

The European Union industry boss Thierry Brenton said it is investigating Apple’s reason for terminating Epic’s iOS developer account. The European Commission on Thursday, March 7, 2024, asked Apple to provide explanations for its action under the DMA.

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In its investigation, the EU executives will also determine whether the action taken by Apple complied with the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Platform to Business Regulation (P2B), “given the links between the developer program membership and the App Store as designated VLOP (very large online platform)”

The so-called gatekeepers or big companies are mandated to comply with the DMA by March 6, 2024. According to the terms of the DMA, EU residents now have the option to:

  • Install apps from alternative app marketplaces
  • Install web browsers with alternative browser engines
  • Manage your default web browser the first time you open Safari
  • Use alternative payment options for apps in the App Store with the external purchases badge

EU Commission’s coordinating spokesperson for digital economy research and innovation Johannes Bahrke said the commission will “fully enforce the DMA, using the entire toolbox at our disposal”. Companies that fail to comply will be hit with fines “up to 10%” of their global turnover and can go up to 20% “in case of repeated infringement”.

Do you think Apple is trying to stifle competition or just jealously protecting a business model and ecosystem it has worked hard to build? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.


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