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Apple has ended its developer account agreement with Epic

Apple has come under fire from Epic Games for terminating the developer account of Epic Games Sweden AB, effectively halting the development of the Epic Games Store for iOS devices in Europe. Epic Games alleges that Apple’s actions violate the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which mandates that gatekeepers like Apple allow and facilitate the installation and effective use of third-party software applications or application stores on their operating systems.

According to Epic Games, Apple’s decision to terminate its developer account undermines competition on iOS devices and sets a concerning precedent for retaliating against developers critical of Apple’s practices. Apple justified its termination of Epic’s developer account by citing Epic’s public criticism of its proposed DMA compliance plan.

However, Epic Games contends that Apple’s justification is unwarranted, especially considering their longstanding relationship, which includes releasing various apps and games on the App Store, contractual agreements, and collaborations. Despite Apple’s assertion that Epic threatens its ecosystem, Epic Games highlights its history of collaboration with Apple, including developing apps and games using Unreal Engine and participating in Apple’s events. Epic Games also points to its ongoing efforts to support Apple platforms, such as shipping experimental support for Apple Vision Pro in Unreal Engine 5.4.

In a blog post announcing the developments and its correspondence with Apple, Epic Games pledges to continue fighting for true competition and choice on iOS devices in Europe and globally. It emphasizes the need to address the power imbalance that allows Apple to control competing stores and apps. Epic’s developer account was terminated after Apple initially approved it, leading to tensions between the two companies regarding compliance with developer agreements and the DMA.

The correspondence between Epic Games and Apple regarding the termination of the developer account underscores the ongoing dispute between the two companies regarding the future of app distribution on iOS devices.

Meanwhile, the European Union has launched an investigation into Apple’s decision to terminate Epic Games’ iOS developer account. This move blocks the release of Fortnite and the Epic Games Store on Apple devices in Europe. A European Commission spokesperson stated, “We have requested further explanations on this from Apple under the DMA,” highlighting concerns regarding Apple’s compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Platform to Business Regulation (P2B).

Apple defended its action, citing court rulings from its antitrust legal battle with Epic Games. According to Apple, Epic’s breach of contractual obligations justified the termination of the developer account.

Source: adapted from an article by Baytan Uğur Yem, Author for Mobidictum.

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