EU Probes Apple's Decision to Shut Down Epic's Developer Account

The European Commission has requested "further explanations" from Apple over its decision yesterday to terminate the developer account of Epic Games, the Financial Times reports.

App Store vs EU Feature 2
The EC said it was investigating under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a new law aimed at curbing the power of the biggest online platforms. Tech companies faced a March 7 deadline to comply with the legislation. The Commission added that it was also evaluating whether Apple's actions might have breached other EU laws.

Apple on Wednesday announced the termination of Epic Games Sweden's developer account on a global scale, citing the game developer's recurrent untrustworthy actions. Apple said courts had previously granted Apple the authority to end the accounts of any of Epic's subsidiaries due to contractual infractions.

The move thwarted Epic's plan to launch an Epic Games Store on iOS in the EU and bring its Fortnite game back to the iPhone, which it claimed was in line with new EU regulations allowing for alternative app marketplaces on iOS. Starting with iOS 17.4, Apple allows alternative app marketplaces on the iPhone in the EU, as part of its compliance with the DMA. Epic argues that Apple's account termination violates the DMA and significantly limits competition on iOS devices.

Epic condemned Apple's decision as a violation of competitive principles, interpreting it as evidence of Apple's unwillingness to allow legitimate competition on its platform. The company claimed Apple's action was an attempt to eliminate a major potential rival to the App Store.

Apple's action was the latest in a broader legal conflict that started in 2020 when Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store for bypassing its payment system rules. In retaliation, Epic launched lawsuits in the U.S. and Australia, accusing Apple of anti-competitive behavior.

Top Rated Comments

threesixty360 Avatar
5 weeks ago
I think they may have done this to push the whole thing to the Supreme Court in the EU.
You're basically forcing a company to go into a contract with another company who have consistently lied and acted in bad faith. Is that even legal?

Is Apple now a utility company providing energy or something? The EU will have to revise what their rules mean. Again, they haven't thought it through. On one side they say that apple needs to make sure apps from third parties are secure etc, which means they have to sign these apps one way or another centrally. But on the other side they are implying apple should let software come in from anywhere and they have no right to vet it. Can you have both things on a OS that is designed in this way? And more importantly, should apple be legally forced to help companies deploy on their platform if that company is harmful or dishonest to Apple?

Lots to chew on here.. My bet is the EU has tangled itself up without fully understanding the technology.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anaxarxes Avatar
5 weeks ago
This is getting a bit ridiculous.

Would they do the same probe if a confectionary manufacturer gets delisted from a supermarket chain?
How about Amazon removing a marketplace account due to the owner not adhering to their policies?

This is not related to the fact that Apple not doing enough for alternative marketplaces - EU was right on that one.

Apple simply chooses not to go into business with EPIC on any of their services. It's completely in their right to do so.

EU waving the flag of free market and getting into forcing a business to do business with another business is not OK.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
User 6502 Avatar
5 weeks ago
Of course this was going to happen. This will just be another humiliation for Apple which will be forced to backtrack one of their immoral decisions yet again. I also laugh at all the people who were saying this wasn’t going to happen because these are two American companies and an American tribunal deemed this acceptable. First of all the subsidiaries involved are very much European so American tribunals sentences have no value, but most importantly the real issue is that one requires an Apple account to publish outside the App Store, which is of course what eventually will be ripped apart by the EU.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
klasma Avatar
5 weeks ago

EU waving the flag of free market and getting into forcing a business to do business with another business is not OK.
Nobody is forcing Apple to require a business relationship for apps on alternative app stores.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
User 6502 Avatar
5 weeks ago

I think they may have done this to push the whole thing to the Supreme Court in the EU.
You're basically forcing a company to go into a contract with another company who have consistently lied and acted in bad faith. Is that even legal?

Is Apple now a utility company providing energy or something? The EU will have to revise what their rules mean. Again, they haven't thought it through. On one side they say that apple needs to make sure apps from third parties are secure etc, which means they have to sign these apps one way or another centrally. But on the other side they are implying apple should let software come in from anywhere and they have no right to vet it. Can you have both things on a OS that is designed in this way? And more importantly, should apple be legally forced to help companies deploy on their platform if that company is harmful or dishonest to Apple?

Lots to chew on here.. My bet is the EU has tangled itself up without fully understanding the technology.
There is no Supreme Court in the EU. There is the European court of justice which is what will ultimately decide on this. What will be put in doubt is not Apple right to sign contracts with parties of their choosing, but the fact a contract with Apple is at all needed to publish apps outside the App Store. The whole point of the DMA is break Apple’s monopoly on the iPhone apps, so it is this requirement that will eventually be removed: Apple will be free not to sign an agreement with other parties, but the other parties will not need such agreement to create other app stores or publish apps in them.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
5 weeks ago
What a dumb move from Apple to do it right before the DMA goes into effect like at least wait a few weeks :D
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Colors

iPhone 16 Plus Rumored to Come in These 7 Colors

Wednesday April 10, 2024 3:52 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Plus may come in seven colors that either build upon the existing five colors in the standard iPhone 15 lineup or recast them in a new finish, based on a new rumor out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker Fixed focus digital, Apple's upcoming larger 6.7-inch iPhone 16 Plus model will come in the following colors, compared to the colors currently available for the...
apple tv 4k yellow bg feature

When to Expect a New Apple TV to Launch

Tuesday April 9, 2024 8:30 am PDT by
It has been nearly a year and a half since the current Apple TV was released, so the device is becoming due for a hardware upgrade. Below, we recap rumors about the next Apple TV, including potential features and launch timing. The current model is the third-generation Apple TV 4K, announced in October 2022. Key new features compared to the previous model from 2021 include a faster A15...
apple silicon feature joeblue

Macs to Get AI-Focused M4 Chips Starting in Late 2024

Thursday April 11, 2024 10:10 am PDT by
Apple will begin updating its Mac lineup with M4 chips in late 2024, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The M4 chip will be focused on improving performance for artificial intelligence capabilities. Last year, Apple introduced the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips all at once in October, so it's possible we could see the M4 lineup come during the same time frame. Gurman says that the entire...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iOS 18 WWDC 24 Feature 2

iOS 18 May Feature All-New 'Safari Browsing Assistant'

Wednesday April 10, 2024 6:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 will apparently feature a new Safari browsing assistant, according to backend code on Apple's servers discovered by Nicolás Álvarez. MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris confirmed that the code exists, but not many details are known at this time. Álvarez said it seems like the browsing assistant will use iCloud Private Relay's infrastructure to send relevant data to Apple in a...