Apple once again squashes Epic’s plans to return to iOS

Epic and "Fortnite"'s plans to return to the iPhone have been blocked by Apple again.

Epic issued a press release on March 6 stating that Apple had terminated Epic ’s developer account and that they could no longer continue to develop the iOS version of the Epic Games Store .

In 2020 , Epic encouraged players of its game "Fortnite" to bypass the App Store channel and pay directly for the game to avoid the App Store's 30% share, commonly known as the "Apple tax."

In response, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and deleted Epic 's developer account. Subsequently, Epic sued Apple for violating antitrust laws, but Epic "basically lost the lawsuit." "Fortnite" has also been removed from the iOS platform for nearly three years.

In 2024 , in response to the EU's Digital Market Act ( DMA ), Apple changed the rules for publishing iOS apps in the EU to allow third-party app stores on iOS .

Epic subsequently stated that it plans to launch the Epic Game Store on iPhones in the EU this year and bring "Fortnite" back to iOS .

On February 16 , Epic obtained the Epic Games Swedish developer account. As a result, less than a month later, Apple terminated the developer account on the grounds that Epic was "untrustworthy."

"Really not trustworthy" Epic

Epic shared its communications with Apple in a press release. App Store head Phill Schiller sent a letter to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney on February 23 , questioning Epic’s willingness to abide by Apple’s rules.

Schiller said in the letter that Sweeney called Apple's policies "hot trash" and a "horror show" on social platform Follow the rules," Schiller wrote in the letter. He also hopes Sweeney will give Apple a reason to trust Epic again.

Sweeney responded in a letter on the same day stating that Epic "will abide by all terms of Apple's current and future agreements."

A week after Sweeney responded to the letter, Apple’s lawyers sent a letter to Epic stating that Apple would immediately terminate Epic ’s developer account.

In this letter, Apple stated that "history shows that Epic is indeed not worthy of trust." This was followed by a reference to Sweeney’s X tweet on February 27 .

Sweeney said in this tweet that Apple needs to consider the contradiction between its stated principles of open competition in the EU and its actual continued monopolistic behavior. Sweeny also accused Apple of being an "unrivaled overlord."

Apple believes that Sweeney ’s tweet is a continued slander of Apple’s policies. Coupled with Epic’s past breach of contract, Apple no longer trusts Epic to abide by its contractual commitments in its developer agreement, believing that it “poses a serious threat to Apple’s software ecosystem.” threaten". Therefore, Epic's hard-won developer account was terminated, once again shattering Epic 's attempt to return to iOS .

The battle between Epic and Apple, the battle between Apple and the EU

Both Epic and Tim Sweeney are seen as active challengers to Apple's App Store rules. Sweeney tweeted several times on X , criticizing Apple's "monopolistic behavior."

Apple’s decision to prevent us from competing is a blatant attempt to suppress its main competitor

Obvious violations should be punished promptly

The New York Times interprets that Apple’s behavior is actually testing the limits of the DMA Act and testing whether it can still maintain control over iOS platform software developers in the EU’s mandatory open environment.

An Apple spokesperson stated in a statement that Apple has the right to terminate Epic 's actions because of "serious breach of contractual obligations."

On X , Sweeney retweeted many related tweets. Many netizens and media said that Apple's latest ban on Epic is "killing the chicken to scare the monkey" and is intended to intimidate other developers: even in an open third-party environment, they must still abide by Apple's tough rules.

This week, the European Union fined Apple 1.84 billion euros on the grounds that the App Store hindered competition in the digital music market. This is also one of the results of the long-term antitrust battle between the EU and Apple.

From the perspective of forcing iOS to open up and fining it, the EU is "pressing harder and harder" on Apple. It is still unclear whether the EU forcing the iOS system to be more open will be more beneficial to the interests of consumers and developers, or will result in a worse experience than before. But losing the "Apple tax" will undoubtedly reduce Apple's profits.

▲ The new Apple tax "Core Technology Fee" charges more for apps with large downloads

Therefore, even if the iOS platform is forced to open a third-party app store, Apple will limit it as much as possible and ensure revenue through a new "installation fee."

Apple’s major attack on Epic this time is not only dissatisfaction with the words and deeds of Epic and Sweeney , but also a challenge to the new EU rules.

This is why Tim Sweeney continues to be "full of fire" on X , criticizing Apple for saying one thing and doing another, and continuing to maintain its monopoly behavior.

▲ Epic CEO Tim Sweeney

According to the New York Times, Epic has invested billions of dollars to develop the Epic Game Store and will complain to European regulators about Apple's behavior.

"This is not just an issue between Epic and Apple. The DMA is to ensure that consumers benefit from competition and get better prices." Sweeney said.

Interestingly, in Apple's tweet citing Sweeney to "slander" Apple's new rules, Sweeney also said that he does not hate Apple, but just cannot agree with Apple's series of actions regarding the App Store .

When Apple's designers and engineers focus on creating great products, no other team in the world does it better. The problem arises when their goals change direction

▲ Epic’s press release lists its past cooperation with Apple

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