Epic Games Accuses Apple of Blocking European Game Store Launch

Epic Games

Epic Games vs. Apple: A Battle Over iOS App Store Control

Epic Games, the creator of “Fortnite,” has accused Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) of obstructing its efforts to establish a game store on iPhones and iPads in Europe. This marks the latest development in the ongoing dispute over Apple’s dominance in the iOS app ecosystem.

Apple Rejections and Button Design Dispute

Epic Games revealed that Apple has rejected its application to launch the Epic Games Store twice. The rejections were based on the similarity of certain button designs and labels to those used by Apple’s App Store.

“We are using the same ‘Install’ and ‘In-app purchases’ naming conventions that are used across popular app stores on multiple platforms, and are following standard conventions for buttons in iOS apps,” Epic stated in a series of posts on X.

Epic argues that Apple’s rejection is “arbitrary, obstructive, and in violation of the DMA,” and has raised its concerns with the European Commission.

European Commission Involvement

In response to European regulators’ pressure, Apple had initially cleared the way for Epic to introduce its game store on iOS devices in Europe as of March. However, Epic’s latest statements indicate ongoing friction and delays.

Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment on this matter.

Legal Battles and Regulatory Changes

The legal conflict between Epic Games and Apple began in 2020 when Epic claimed that Apple’s practice of charging up to 30% commissions on in-app payments on iOS devices breached U.S. antitrust laws. This case has been a significant point of contention, highlighting the broader issues of market control and fair competition.

Earlier this year, Apple proposed changes to its App Store policies to align with certain directives of the DMA, which came into effect in March. These changes included allowing alternative app stores on iPhones and providing an option to bypass the in-app payments system. However, Apple introduced a “core technology fee” that many developers found exploitative.

Ongoing Antitrust Investigation

Last month, EU antitrust regulators determined that Apple’s revised terms did not meet the DMA standards and initiated another investigation into the new contract requirements for third-party app developers and stores.

Industry Reactions and Future Implications

Epic Games’ struggle to launch its game store on iOS devices in Europe underscores the broader debate about Apple’s control over its app ecosystem and the fees it charges developers. The outcome of this dispute could have significant implications for app developers, consumers, and the regulatory landscape.

Epic’s continued push against Apple aligns with its broader strategy to break free from what it views as Apple’s monopolistic practices. The European Commission’s involvement suggests that regulatory bodies are taking these concerns seriously, which could lead to further changes in how app stores operate globally.

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