EU tells Apple to justify its blocking of Epic Games

Posted:
in iOS edited March 7

European Union regulators have asked Apple to explain its preventing Epic Games from launching an online store, and say the move could be non-compliance with the law.

Promotional graphic for Fortnite featuring diverse stylized characters, including a robot and anthropomorphic tiger, set against a purple sky with the game's logo overhead.
"Fortnite" ad (source: Epic Games)



Apple originally terminated an Epic Games developer account over its breaking of App Store rules in August 2020. It led to years of legal battles, but since the EU required Apple to allow third-party app stores in its region, Epic Games applied for a new developer account.

Epic Games was among the first companies to say it would produce an EU-only third-party rival to Apple's App Store. However, Apple rejected that application for a developer account, and so entirely blocked Epic Games from returning to the iPhone.

In emails released by Epic Games, Apple is seen to have called the company "verifiably untrustworthy," and pointed to its previous breaches of contracts. According to Reuters, however, regulators in the EU say that this not sufficient, and they have now written to Apple requiring an explanation for its actions.

"We have requested further explanations on this from Apple under the DMA (Digital Markets Act)," an EU spokesperson told Reuters.

While the EU could always have asked Apple about its actions, this request is more significant because it comes on March 7, 2024, which is the first day that the DMA is in effect. The EU now has the regulatory authority to fine Apple for non-compliance, which the firm's rivals are already accusing it of.

"We are also evaluating whether Apple's actions raise doubts on their compliance with the DSA [Digital Services Act] and the P2B [Platform to Business Regulation]," continued the EU spokesperson, "given the links between the developer programme membership and the App store as designated VLOP [very large online platform]."

In a response to Reuters, Apple has reiterated its position that Epic Games has a record of breaking contracts that it had previously agreed to.

"Epic's egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple led courts to determine that Apple has the right to terminate 'any or all of Epic Games' wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games' control at any time and at Apple's sole discretion'," said a spokesperson for Apple.

"In light of Epic's past and ongoing behavior," the spokesperson continued, "Apple chose to exercise that right."

Separately, Apple has amended its requirements for developers to run rival app stores. It's also added an one-time escape clause for developers to revert to exclusively using Apple's own App Store.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    PancakePancake Posts: 44member
    How much money has EPIC lost by taking this stand against the App Store? I think they were one of the most popular games on iOS before they broke TOS. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 38
    UpPancake said:
    How much money has EPIC lost by taking this stand against the App Store? I think they were one of the most popular games on iOS before they broke TOS. 
    The amount of money that Epic made from Fortnite on iOS came up in the Epic v. Apple trial. It was surprisingly low. I mean in the millions but not as much as I would have expected and it was the lowest grossing platform. I think it made less than Android. 

    Anyway, the impression I got was that the income off it was low enough that they were willing to sacrifice it if they lost the trial.
    tmaymuthuk_vanalingamVictorMortimerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 38
    "Epic's egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple led courts to determine that Apple has the right to terminate 'any or all of Epic Games' wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games' control at any time and at Apple's sole discretion'," said a spokesperson for Apple.
    Given the EU's determination to bring Apple to heel, I expect this entirely reasonable explanation to fall on deaf ears.  "Not our courts!"  It seems the EU has arrogated the right to determine who businesses do business with to themselves, rather than the parties involved.

    Benito would be proud at how his ideas have blossomed in the very countries who opposed him.


    edited March 7 igorskydanoxtmaytdknoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 38
    Pancake said:
    How much money has EPIC lost by taking this stand against the App Store? I think they were one of the most popular games on iOS before they broke TOS. 
    Fortnite was developed for video game consoles and desktops/laptops. That’s where they made 85% of their money. Mobile was just a way to maximize revenue by doing ports at a later date. That’s one of the reasons their stance on the App Store is flimsy at best. It’s completely obvious they never needed the App Store to be successful with their app so how can Apple’s approach be considered to rise to the level of antitrust?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 38
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 245member
    I’ve been following Apple since 1997. Apple Insider I have been following since 1998. Apple is going to be fined on this one. The lawyers for Apple have made the wrong decision 
    muthuk_vanalingamVictorMortimerapple4thewinwilliamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 6 of 38
    Fred257 said:
    I’ve been following Apple since 1997. Apple Insider I have been following since 1998. Apple is going to be fined on this one. The lawyers for Apple have made the wrong decision 
    If they get fined then they should also get a refund if Epic violates their terms of service in the EU.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 38
    Fred257 said:
    I’ve been following Apple since 1997. Apple Insider I have been following since 1998. Apple is going to be fined on this one. The lawyers for Apple have made the wrong decision 

    And about time, too.  Apple is playing around, they're going to lose this.  They need to just open up the iPhone and iPad for apps installed from anywhere, it's time for this app store nonsense to end.

    (Gave up and created a new account today, my old one won't log in and the password recovery won't work.  With how much the posts here have dropped I don't think I'm the only one who had that problem.)
    williamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 8 of 38
    nubusnubus Posts: 460member
    Given the EU's determination to bring Apple to heel, I expect this entirely reasonable explanation to fall on deaf ears.  "Not our courts!"  
    Apple stuck to a proprietary charging connector. And Apple decided to add 43% to all prices on iOS forcing Spotify to pay for Music unless users subscribed from a Mac or online. And Apple told EU it had five (5) different App Stores... like.... And here we go again with yet another stupidity.

    Apple is not the legislative branch of EU. No wonder the stock has dropped 9% this year.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 9 of 38
    jdonAIjdonAI Posts: 12member
    You know - EU has become a. total pain in the ass.
    edited March 7 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 38
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 759member
    "Epic's egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple led courts to determine that Apple has the right to terminate 'any or all of Epic Games' wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games' control at any time and at Apple's sole discretion'," said a spokesperson for Apple.
    Given the EU's determination to bring Apple to heel, I expect this entirely reasonable explanation to fall on deaf ears.  "Not our courts!"  It seems the EU has arrogated the right to determine who businesses do business with to themselves, rather than the parties involved.

    Benito would be proud at how his ideas have blossomed in the very countries who opposed him.


    And Europeans cheer because they love getting stuff for minimal effort. 
    beowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 38
    Fred257 said:
    I’ve been following Apple since 1997. Apple Insider I have been following since 1998. Apple is going to be fined on this one. The lawyers for Apple have made the wrong decision 
    Since 98’ that’s crazy when did AppleInsider start?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 38
    Fred257 said:
    I’ve been following Apple since 1997. Apple Insider I have been following since 1998. Apple is going to be fined on this one. The lawyers for Apple have made the wrong decision 
    Bullshit. The DMA doesn’t have any language that deals with this scenario. This is contract law and it will have to be decided in a court.

    Again for the people in the back: The DMA isn’t a blank cheque that says developers have 100% access to Apple or Google App stores and that Apple/Google can’t do anything about bad actors.
    tmayhlee1169tdknoxwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 38
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,495member
    This level of micromanagement is insane. Do these EU regulators have nothing at all to do other than to constantly harass Apple? 
    rob53tdknoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 38
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 1,036member
    dewme said:
    This level of micromanagement is insane. Do these EU regulators have nothing at all to do other than to constantly harass Apple? 
    Aren't those guys the ones who want all phones to use the same sort of charging cable?
  • Reply 15 of 38
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,727member
    Fred257 said:
    I’ve been following Apple since 1997. Apple Insider I have been following since 1998. Apple is going to be fined on this one. The lawyers for Apple have made the wrong decision 

    And about time, too.  Apple is playing around, they're going to lose this.  They need to just open up the iPhone and iPad for apps installed from anywhere, it's time for this app store nonsense to end.

    (Gave up and created a new account today, my old one won't log in and the password recovery won't work.  With how much the posts here have dropped I don't think I'm the only one who had that problem.)
    The European Union arose because the Europeans couldn’t compete on their own with the rest of the world, so they each lined up to surrender their national sovereignty, unique cultures, and dignity for an undemocratic, opaque, wasteful, bloated, bureaucratic quasi-governmental mess. If you can't compete then you regulate.  That's the EU for you.
    williamhrob53tdknoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 38
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,418member
    williamh said:
    dewme said:
    This level of micromanagement is insane. Do these EU regulators have nothing at all to do other than to constantly harass Apple? 
    Aren't those guys the ones who want all phones to use the same sort of charging cable?
    The EU's first pass, prior to USB Type C, was Micro USB. Apple complied with a 2 gram adaptor. Apple also complied prior to the deadline, for USB Type C.

    Please note, now consumers have to navigate all of the variations of USB Type C cables, from basic charging to USB 4 Gen 3, 40 mbps/240W.
    beowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 38
    sirdirsirdir Posts: 189member
    tmay said:
    williamh said:
    dewme said:
    This level of micromanagement is insane. Do these EU regulators have nothing at all to do other than to constantly harass Apple? 
    Aren't those guys the ones who want all phones to use the same sort of charging cable?
    The EU's first pass, prior to USB Type C, was Micro USB. Apple complied with a 2 gram adaptor. Apple also complied prior to the deadline, for USB Type C.

    Please note, now consumers have to navigate all of the variations of USB Type C cables, from basic charging to USB 4 Gen 3, 40 mbps/240W.
    Nonsense, Micro USB was never a thing. It was in talks, if anything. And by now, I doubt anybody would say moving to USB C was bad. 
    If Apple wouldn’t have to be forced to do the right thing kicking and screaming, maybe that would be better for everyone…
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 38
    sirdirsirdir Posts: 189member

    dewme said:
    This level of micromanagement is insane. Do these EU regulators have nothing at all to do other than to constantly harass Apple? 
    As long as Apple keeps harassing their customers and the developer that made them successful, please, yes, go on. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 38
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,418member
    sirdir said:
    tmay said:
    williamh said:
    dewme said:
    This level of micromanagement is insane. Do these EU regulators have nothing at all to do other than to constantly harass Apple? 
    Aren't those guys the ones who want all phones to use the same sort of charging cable?
    The EU's first pass, prior to USB Type C, was Micro USB. Apple complied with a 2 gram adaptor. Apple also complied prior to the deadline, for USB Type C.

    Please note, now consumers have to navigate all of the variations of USB Type C cables, from basic charging to USB 4 Gen 3, 40 mbps/240W.
    Nonsense, Micro USB was never a thing. It was in talks, if anything. And by now, I doubt anybody would say moving to USB C was bad. 
    If Apple wouldn’t have to be forced to do the right thing kicking and screaming, maybe that would be better for everyone…
    https://www.engadget.com/2010-12-29-european-standardization-bodies-formalize-micro-usb-cellphone-ch.html

    Gee, who knew. 
    13485watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 38
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,263member
    Fred257 said:
    I’ve been following Apple since 1997. Apple Insider I have been following since 1998. Apple is going to be fined on this one. The lawyers for Apple have made the wrong decision 

    And about time, too.  Apple is playing around, they're going to lose this.  They need to just open up the iPhone and iPad for apps installed from anywhere, it's time for this app store nonsense to end.

    (Gave up and created a new account today, my old one won't log in and the password recovery won't work.  With how much the posts here have dropped I don't think I'm the only one who had that problem.)
    The European Union arose because the Europeans couldn’t compete on their own with the rest of the world, so they each lined up to surrender their national sovereignty, unique cultures, and dignity for an undemocratic, opaque, wasteful, bloated, bureaucratic quasi-governmental mess. If you can't compete then you regulate.  That's the EU for you.
    This is usually called an illegal cartel but the EU lovers don't understand this. Apple is an American company providing a product. Maybe it's time for the USA to start going after EU companies, like the VW, for all their fake emission controls on vehicles. I'd start by shutting down VW Group of America for regularly, intentionally violating emission controls. I'd also go after every EU company no matter what they provide. If the EU continues to try and run American companies, the USA needs to start forcing EU companies to comply with every American law.
    olswatto_cobra
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