Apple Blocks Epic Games from Launching a Game Store in Europe

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

Epic Games, the developer of “Fortnite,” has accused Apple of hindering its efforts to launch a game store on iPhones and iPads in Europe. This marks the latest development in the ongoing conflict over Apple’s dominance in the app ecosystem.

Apple Rejections and Button Design Dispute

Epic Games has disclosed that Apple has rejected its application to launch the Epic Games Store twice. The rejections were attributed to the perceived 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 contends that Apple’s rejection is “arbitrary, obstructive, and in violation of the DMA,” and has brought its concerns to the European Commission.

European Commission Involvement

Under pressure from European regulators, Apple had initially paved the way for Epic to introduce its game store on iOS devices in Europe starting in March. However, Epic’s recent statements indicate ongoing friction and delays.

Apple has not yet responded to Reuters’ inquiries about this matter.

Legal Battles and Regulatory Changes

The legal dispute between Epic Games and Apple began in 2020 when Epic alleged that Apple’s practice of charging up to 30% commissions on in-app payments on iOS devices violated U.S. antitrust laws. This case has been a significant point of contention, highlighting 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 ongoing efforts against Apple are consistent with its broader strategy to break free from what it perceives 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.