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Apple banned Epic Games developer's account due to "unreliability" - EGS on iOS delayed for now

Apple banned Epic Games developer's account due to "unreliability" - EGS on iOS delayed for now
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Recently, Apple released iOS 17.4, providing users with the ability to download apps and games from third-party app stores - Epic was also preparing its own alternative, but due to the developer account being blocked, the plans are currently put on hold.

Epic called Apple's decision a violation of the DMA (EU Digital Markets Act) and believes that the company wants to prevent "serious competition." Apple stated that Epic turned out to be "verifiably untrustworthy" (interestingly, the developer account for the creator of Fortnite was only restored earlier this year with no complaints at that time).

At the same time, Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney expressed particular concern about the changes introduced in the App Store at the request of the EU, calling them a "new instance of harmful regulatory compliance." He noted that technically Apple complies with DMA, but in reality, "its scheme is anti-competitive and is saturated with new junk fees for downloads," significantly reducing the value of third-party app stores.

The grievances are not unfounded: developers must get approval from Apple to launch a store and adhere to strict moderation rules; in addition, they must pay a fee for the "base technology" if the program is downloaded over a million times (about 54 cents per installation annually); and also provide a letter from a financial institution confirming that they have access to a credit of at least $1.1 million to resolve potential financial disputes. A fixed commission is also provided for each transaction, ranging from 15 to 30%.

After Sweeney openly complained about the new rules for app stores, Apple's Phil Schiller sent Epic Games an email asking for "written assurances" that the company will fulfill its obligations.

"In simple terms, please explain why we should trust Epic this time," the letter said.

Sweeney replied that "Epic and its subsidiaries act responsibly and will comply with all the terms of current and future agreements with Apple and are willing to provide any specific additional assurances." However, the response, judging by the blockade, did not satisfy Apple.

Epic says that such a decision undermines its "ability to be a viable competitor" and that Apple is "showing other developers what will happen to competitors." The developer calls the ban "Epic's revenge for opposing Apple's unfair and illegal practices."

Apple's statement, meanwhile, refers to "Epic's flagrant breach of its contractual obligations." The iPhone manufacturer then states that it has "the right to terminate the activities of any or all subsidiaries or affiliated entities, or other organizations wholly owned or controlled by Epic Games, at any time and at its discretion. In light of Epic's past and ongoing behavior, Apple has decided to exercise this right."

Despite all this, Epic still plans to move Fortnite to iOS - probably through an unaffiliated third-party app store. Also, Apple Vision Pro provides experimental support for the Unreal Engine gaming engine.

  • The conflict between Apple and Epic started in 2020 when the latter added its own payment system for Fortnite virtual currency and bypassed the 30% commission for in-app purchases in the App Store. Apple closed Epic's access to its app store - and Epic in response filed an antitrust lawsuit.
  • In 2021, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed Epic's lawsuit against Apple, but found that the latter violated California's unfair competition law by prohibiting developers from "steering" users to digital purchases outside the App Store payment system. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld most of Rogers' decisions in 2023.
  • Ultimately, the case reached the Supreme Court, but both appeals were rejected. It is reported that the Department of Justice is considering its own antitrust case against Apple.

Source: Engadget

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