Apple Terminates Epic Games iOS Developer Account for Sweden, Which Gaming Company Alleges Is Retaliation for Criticizing the Tech Giant

Rexa Vella

Apple Terminates Epic Games iOS Developer Account for Sweden, Which Gaming Company Alleges Is Retaliation for Criticizing the Tech Giant

The battle between Apple and Epic Games continues to rage on.

Epic Games on Wednesday said Apple terminated its developer account for Sweden, which the games company said it had planned to use to launch the Epic Games Store and “Fortnite” on iOS devices in Europe. That came less than three weeks after Apple had approved the Epic Games Sweden AB developer account.

Epic, in a blog post, said Apple’s termination of the developer account is a “serious violation” of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act — a new law regulating big tech “gatekeeper” companies like Apple, which took full effect March 6 — and “shows Apple has no intention of allowing true competition on iOS devices.”

The DMA requires Apple to allow third-party app stores, like the Epic Games Store, according to Epic Games, citing a section of the law that says, “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.”

In response, Apple said it had the right to terminate Epic’s account based on the September 2021 U.S. district court ruling in the “Fortnite” maker’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple. That judgment affirmed that Apple has the contractual right to terminate its Developer Program License Agreement with any or all of Epic Games’ subsidiaries or affiliates.

“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,’” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “In light of Epic’s past and ongoing behavior, Apple chose to exercise that right.”

According to Apple, on Feb. 16, 2024, Epic Games Sweden entered into the Apple DPLA via a “click-through” agreement, which did not involve any executive review by Apple.

Apple in August 2020 officially booted “Fortnite” and other Epic Games titles off the App Store, suspending the games company’s developer account after Epic filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple.

According to documentation provided by Epic Games, one of the reasons Apple terminated its developer account for Sweden was because Epic “publicly criticized their proposed DMA compliance plan.” In blocking the account, Apple cited a Feb. 26 post on X by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, in which he said in part, “Apple leadership faces some massive decisions in the coming weeks as the contradictions between their stated principles and the intended and actual consequences of their present policies are reckoned with: the app store monopoly, the digital goods payments monopoly, the tax, the suppression of true information about competing purchasing options, the blocking of competing web browser engines and outright destruction of web apps.”

According to Epic Games, “Apple is retaliating against Epic for speaking out against Apple’s unfair and illegal practices, just as they’ve done to other developers time and time again. If Apple maintains its power to kick a third-party marketplace off iOS at its sole discretion, no reasonable developer would be willing to utilize a third-party app store, because they could be permanently separated from their audience at any time.”

Epic’s lawsuit against Apple argued that the tech company acts as a monopoly, taking a 30% cut Apple takes on all in-app purchases while banning outside payment methods. The judge in the case largely ruled against Epic, but barred Apple from blocking developers from promoting other forms of payment in their iOS apps. The Supreme Court in January 2024 declined to review the case.

Separately, on Monday the European Commission levied a fine against Apple of about $1.95 billion for “abusing its dominant position on the market for the distribution of music streaming apps” to iPhone and iPad users. That investigation, prompted by a complaint by Spotify, found that Apple applied restrictions on app developers preventing them from informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app. Apple said it will appeal the decision.

SOURCE

MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MLB MLB MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL

Leave a Comment

MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL MlL