Apple Reverses Decision, Grants Approval to Epic Games for App Store Access in Europe

Apple has granted approval to Epic Games’ developer account in Sweden, paving the way for the company to introduce a competing app store for iPhones across Europe, adhering to the new antitrust regulation, the Digital Markets Act.

Earlier this week, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney alleged that Apple had taken retaliatory action against the company in response to lawsuits and criticism on social media by blocking its Swedish account. This claim was supported by an email purportedly from Phil Schiller, the head of the Apple App Store, to Sweeney.

This incident marked one of the initial confrontations with the European DMA by a major tech entity under its regulation, prompting concerns about the adequacy of the law’s fines and penalties in deterring the targeted practices. Apple’s swift reversal of its decision suggests that European regulators can enforce the law effectively.

Epic Games
Epic Games is committed to following rules, including Digital Markets Act policies. (Credits: epam)

Epic Games expressed satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “This sends a strong signal to developers that the European Commission will act swiftly to enforce the Digital Markets Act and hold gatekeepers accountable.”

Apple’s App Store currently imposes a 30% fee on game purchases and 15% on most online subscriptions. Before the implementation of Europe’s DMA, the App Store was the predominant method for installing apps on iPhones.

However, the new regulation obliges Apple to permit third-party app stores on iPhones in Europe. Nonetheless, Apple intends to levy a charge of half a euro per download, a pricing strategy that has drawn criticism from app developers.

Following Epic’s announcement, European regulators promptly declared their intention to seek clarification from Apple regarding the incident. On Friday, Sweeney confirmed via social media that Apple had granted Epic Games permission to launch the store after an inquiry by the European Commission.

Earlier this week, Sweeney criticized Apple’s persistent blocking of the company’s developer account in Europe as egregious.

Apple Reverses Decision, Grants Approval to Epic Games for App Store Access in Europe
Fortnite is set to return to iPhones in Europe through Epic Games’ approved developer account. (Credits: Fortnite)

In response, Schiller, Apple’s App Store chief, sent a letter to Sweeney inquiring whether Epic would comply with Apple’s contracts in light of the 2020 lawsuit. Sweeney affirmed his agreement, yet emails from Epic Games indicate that an Apple attorney rejected Sweeney’s statement and continued to block Epic’s European account.

An Apple spokesperson verified that Epic Games’ account had been reinstated following assurances from Epic that it would adhere to platform policies. “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,” the spokesperson stated to CNBC.

Epic Games declared its intention to utilize the account to release Fortnite for iPhones in Europe, alongside its own Epic Games store.

The dispute between Epic Games and Apple dates back to 2020 when Epic updated its shooter game Fortnite to circumvent Apple’s 30% commission on App Store sales.

In response, Apple removed Fortnite from its stores, leading Epic to sue in the U.S. to compel Apple to open its platform. While Epic largely lost the lawsuit, it did secure some concessions under California law.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x