Apple Reverses Course On Epic Games EU Ban

Apple Store in Mumbai. Image credit: Apple

Apple restores Epic Games EU developer account one day after European Commission regulators question the ban, as new rules come into force

Apple has reversed course on its decision to ban an Epic Games developer account that the company had been planning to use to launch a rival iPhone app store in the European Union, after EU regulators questioned the move.

Apple is required to allow rival marketplaces under the Digital Markets Act, which took effect last week.

Epic said in a blog post on Friday that Apple had “told us and committed to the European Commission that they will reinstate our developer account”.

“This sends a strong signal to developers that the European Commission will act swiftly to enforce the Digital Markets Act and hold gatekeepers accountable,” Epic said.

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Image credit: Unsplash

EU probe

The previous day the European Commission said it had “requested further explanations” from the iOS maker about its decision to terminate the developer account of Epic’s Sweden division.

The Commission said it was investigating the move under the DMA and was looking into whether the move might have broken other EU laws.

Apple terminated the Epic Games Sweden AB account after Epic chief executive Tim Sweeney criticised the iPhone maker’s plans for DMA compliance, calling them “hot garbage” and a “horror show”.

Last week Epic released an email dated 23 February in which App Store chief Phil Schiller complained about Sweeney’s “colourful criticism” of the firm’s DMA compliance plan and alluded to Epic’s “past practice of intentionally violating contractual provisions”.

Apple then terminated the Epic Sweden account on 2 March, citing a previous court decision that Epic had committed an “egregious breach of its contractual obligations” and justifying the ban “in light of Epic’s past and ongoing behaviour”.

App Store fracas

“Following conversations with Epic, they have committed to follow the rules, including our DMA policies,” Apple said in a Friday statement.

“As a result, Epic Sweden AB has been permitted to re-sign the developer agreement and accepted into the Apple Developer Programme.”

Apple and Epic have been involved in a legal dispute over Apple’s App Store fees since 2020, with Apple largely winning out.

The European Commission last week fined the company 1.8 billion euros (£1.5bn) over its restrictions on music streaming apps, a decision Apple said it would appeal.