Apple Retaliates Against Epic for Criticizing Its Policies, Blocking Competition in the EU

Epic Games announces that Apple has terminated the company's Epic Games Sweden developer account.

Today, Epic Games announced that Apple has terminated the company’s Epic Games Sweden developer account, preventing the company from bringing the Epic Games Store and Fortnite property to iOS devices in Europe.

The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:

“Epic has shared documents showing that Apple terminated its European developer account because Epic CEO Tim Sweeney publicly stated that he disagrees with Apple’s app store policies. European law requires that Apple allow competing app stores on iPhones, and this move by Apple will shut down a major competitor to its own store before it even launches.

“This is absurd and draconian, and should send a chill down the spines of any business or user that uses Apple products or creates software for Apple platforms. Apple and Epic have policy differences that are being hashed out with legislators, regulators, and in courts around the world. According to the documents released by Epic, Apple wants to settle them by harming Epic’s business, setting an example to other developers who might want to speak out against policy differences with the dominant app store provider.

“Absent a legitimate reason to block Epic’s access, this raises the question: Who’s next? Apple and Spotify, and Apple and developers of dating apps, have also clashed on these issues. Will Apple pull these services from its app store if they express a difference of opinion, too? 

“Apple used to advertise, ‘There’s an app for that.’ Apple laid the groundwork, but it’s developers who make the apps that make the iPhone such a valuable platform. Even Microsoft, at the height of its dominance as an operating system provider, didn’t try to tax developers the way that Apple does, or take credit for software written with the tools it provides.

“Public Knowledge called for comprehensive app store reform in its 2020 paper, ‘Tending the Garden.’ There has been some progress in Europe with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The U.S. has yet to regulate but has quality proposals in the Open App Markets Act and multiple bills calling for an expert regulator of digital platforms. This move by Apple – and Apple and Google’s recently announced plans to ‘comply’ with the DMA (but in ways that appear to undermine it) – shows that much more needs to be done.”

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