Apple Reinstates Epic Games EU Developer Account, Paving the Way for Alternative App Store

Apple today reversed a decision to shut down Epic Games' developer account in the European Union, and the account has now been reinstated. In a statement to MacRumors, Apple said that Epic Games has committed to following the rules, allowing Epic Sweden to be reaccepted into the Apple Developer Program.

fortnite apple logo 2

Following conversations with Epic, they have committed to follow the rules, including our DMA policies. As a result, Epic Sweden AB has been permitted to re-sign the developer agreement and accepted into the Apple Developer Program.

When Apple terminated the ‌Epic Games‌ Sweden developer account earlier this week, it effectively prevented ‌Epic Games‌ from developing an alternative app marketplace for iPhone users in the European Union. Apple claimed that the account had been terminated because ‌Epic Games‌ had previously breached its contractual obligations, and that the court decision in the ‌Epic Games‌ v. Apple legal battle gave it the right to shut down any ‌Epic Games‌ account at any time.

Apple's Phil Schiller engaged in a conversation with ‌Epic Games‌ CEO Tim Sweeney where he asked Sweeney for written assurance that ‌Epic Games‌ would adhere to the new rules for alternative app marketplaces, but Apple did not feel that Sweeney's response was thorough enough. Apple claimed that Epic is "verifiably untrustworthy," with the Cupertino company also citing negative comments from Tim Sweeney about Apple's Digital Marketplace Act (DMA) compliance.

There was immediate public blowback from Apple's decision to kill the account, especially because the emails from Apple made it look like the ‌Epic Games‌ account was terminated because of Sweeney's criticism. From Schiller's email:

In the past, Epic has entered into agreements with Apple and then broken them. For example, you testified that Epic Games, Inc. entered into the Developer Program with full understanding of its terms, and then chose to intentionally breach the agreement with Apple. You also testified that Epic deliberately violated Apple's rules, to make a point and forfinancial gain. More recently, you have described our DMA compliance plan as "hot garbage," a "horror show," and a "devious new instance of Malicious Compliance." And you have complained about what you called "Junk Fees" and "Apple taxes."

Your colorful criticism of our DMA compliance plan, coupled with Epic's past practice of intentionally violating contractual provisions with which it disagrees, strongly suggest that Epic Sweden does not intend to follow the rules.

The European Union quickly stepped in and asked Apple for "further explanations" on why it had shut down the EU ‌Epic Games‌ developer account, a move that likely led Apple to reconsider its decision. ‌Epic Games‌ in a statement to MacRumors said that Apple's response demonstrates that the European Commission plans to act swiftly to enforce the DMA, and that the ‌Epic Games‌ store is coming to Europe.

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!

‌Epic Games‌ announced plans for an alternative app marketplace shortly after Apple introduced support for alternative app stores in the iOS 17.4 beta. ‌Epic Games‌ has pledged to bring Fortnite and other games to the ‌iPhone‌ through its own dedicated storefront, but specific timing for the launch of the ‌Epic Games‌ Store for iOS has not yet been provided.

Though ‌Epic Games‌ is working on an alternative app marketplace, the company has criticized Apple's compliance with the DMA. Sweeney has called Apple's plan a "devious new instance of Malicious Compliance" and has said that ‌Epic Games‌ will continue to "argue to the courts and regulators that Apple is breaking the law."

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Top Rated Comments

sw1tcher Avatar
18 weeks ago

Why can't I just walk into Target, setup a booth and sell some stuff?
The purpose of an alternative store is so you don't have to go to Apple (or in your example Target) and get their approval to sell your products. You can set up your own shop away from Apple (or Target in your case) by using your own resources and not Apple's (or Target's in your case).

The way this so-called alternative app store works now is like having to ask Target for permission to start your own mom & pop business selling items that would compete with Target. And if you have anything negative to say about Target, Target can terminate your business license whenever they feel like it.
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
18 weeks ago
Why are we calling this an alternative app store when Apple controls it? It's just another Apple App Store when Apple can ban developer accounts, institute (unreasonable) Core Tech Fees, and prevent E.U. residents from accessing it if they're away from home for too long.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GizmoDVD Avatar
18 weeks ago
How long before Epic breaks their promises and Apple gets to dump them again?
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wanha Avatar
18 weeks ago
Looking forward to seeing what a benign and honorable gatekeeper Epic will be with their own App Store
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lethal-Bacon Avatar
18 weeks ago

How long before Epic breaks their promises and Apple gets to dump them again?

You mean Apple wanted assurances Epic wouldn't be total *******s and disregard rules again? Yeah, total dick move.

Why are we calling this an alternative app store when Apple controls it? It's just another Apple App Store when Apple can ban developer accounts, institute (unreasonable) Core Tech Fees, and prevent E.U. residents from accessing it if they're away from home for too long.
I dont know where you guys are from, but things work a little bit differently in the EU.
For example... all the "rules" apple has set up for their "compliance" to our new law(Digital Markets Act) are pretty much irrelevant and some of them even illegal under the DMA if you understand the new law.
Apple has 0 say in who they approve/let compete with them and create the rival App Store on the iOS and they are NOT allowed to ban/terminate any competition regardless if they break what Apple calls their "rules" for the EU.
What they consider compliance is malicious compliance at best and borderline illegal.
For example the "Core Technology Fee" is straight up illegal.
DMA mandates that Apple is to set up their OS in such way that it enables any willing competitor to develop and deploy their rival store FOR FREE.
The only company that decides which apps can and can not be published on rival app store is the rival app store developer/owner.
So when Epic creates and publishes their App Store in the EU there is NOTHING Apple can do to remove them and can not dictate what apps can and can not be published.
Only scenario where Apple can refuse an App to be published is if said app has verifiable malicious code inside of it that will harm the iOS users.

So ladies and gentlemen this year will be full of fireworks, and im gonna go on a limb and say that starting next month after EU Commission reviews all the proposed compliance changes Gatekeepers have sent them that they will immediatelly start a full investigation into Apple for their Core Technology Fee among other things that they are not supposed to dictate.
As you could have seen by events in past weeks, EU has teeth and it will force Apple to change any and all things that is not within our laws, pulling out of market big as EU is not an option for Apple because their shareholders would take a giant L and that would most likely result in board starting to replace Apple Execs who thought that this petty route and complete disregard of our laws was a good idea.

Please do not call me an Apple hater or anything like that, i am a developer and a fan of technology in general, i love Iphones and i use Macs for work on daily basis but that does not mean that i cant be objective towards what they have been doing for years already regarding to their anti consumer, anti competitive and anti developer practices.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coffeemilktea Avatar
18 weeks ago
Now the question is, how long until Tim Sweeney decides he needs to test the waters again and then claim to be the victim afterwards? :p
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)