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European Commission 'on the case' - Apple demanded to explain blocking Epic Games developer's account

European Commission 'on the case' - Apple demanded to explain blocking Epic Games developer's account
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Apple must explain to EU regulators how its decision to block complies with the requirements of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Recently, Apple released iOS 17.4, allowing users to download apps and games from third-party app stores - Epic was also preparing its own alternative, however, due to its developer account being unexpectedly blocked again, plans are currently on hold.

Apple initially explained its decision as due to "unreliability" of Epic - in response, Epic accused Apple of violating the DMA and attempting to hinder "serious competition". It seems that we should expect further legal battles in the "Apple vs. Epic Games" saga. Moreover, Apple's blocking decision has already attracted interest in the European Commission, which is demanding additional clarifications, reports Bloomberg. Just a week ago, the company was fined nearly $2 billion in the EU for stifling competitors in response to a complaint from Spotify.

The new EU Digital Markets Act aims to make digital sector markets fairer and more competitive, introducing strict requirements for companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Meta - in case of violations, fines can reach up to 10% of the company's total annual worldwide revenue, and 20% in case of repeated violations.

The European Commission also stated that it is investigating whether Apple's behavior complies with other digital rules on transparency for business users.

The conflict between Apple and Epic started in 2020, when the latter added its own payment system for Fortnite virtual currency, bypassing the 30% commission for in-app purchases on the App Store. Apple cut off Epic's access to its app store, eventually leading to a series of lawsuits.

"Epic's blatant breach of its contractual obligations with Apple led courts to determine that we have the right to terminate any or all of Epic Games’ subsidiaries," Apple's statement said. "In light of Epic's past and current behavior, Apple decided to exercise this right."

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