Apple calls Epic Games ‘untrustworthy,’ blocks Fortnite rerelease in EU


Apple calls Epic Games 'untrustworthy,' blocks 'Fortnite' re-release in EU
The battle between Epic Games and Apple is as cut-throat as anything in Fortnite.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Epic Games will not be able to bring Fortnite back to the European Union. Apple canceled the company’s developer account (again) and called Epic “verifiably untrustworthy.”

Shutting down the developer account also means that the game-maker won’t be able to open its promised rival to the App Store.

Apple vs. Epic Games battle continues

Apple and Epic Games have been embroiled in legal fights for years. In 2020, Epic introduced a version of its popular Fortnite game that circumvented Apple’s requirement that the iPhone-maker receive 30% of in-app payments. The result was that Fortnite was booted from the App Store. Epic Games started a lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but didn’t get Epic its developer account back.

Then the EU passed the Digital Markets Act to, among other things, allow increased competition with Apple’s iPhone App Store. Epic Games Sweden got an Apple developer account earlier this year and announced a plan to open an Epic Games Store in Europe.

The game developer revealed Wednesday that Apple canceled that developer account. That means Epic won’t be able to release Fortnite to iOS devices in Europe, nor will it be able to open the rival iPhone software marketplace.

Epic called Apple’s move “a serious violation of the DMA” and said it “shows Apple has no intention of allowing true competition on iOS devices.”

Apple calls Epic Games ‘verifiably untrustworthy’

The legal battle was originally touched off back in 2020 by Epic Games going behind Apple’s back and secretly building a direct payments system for in-app purchases into Fortnite in violation of App Store guidelines. And Apple has neither forgiven nor forgotten.

This is reflected in a letter Apple lawyers sent Epic on March 6. It said, in part:

“Apple recently reached out directly to [Epic Games CEO] Mr. Sweeney to give him an opportunity to explain why Apple should trust Epic this time and allow Epic Games Sweden AB to become an active developer. Mr. Sweeney’s response to that request was wholly insufficient and not credible. It boiled down to an unsupported ‘trust us.’ History shows, however, that Epic is verifiably untrustworthy, hence the request for meaningful commitments.”

Apple also objected to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s “litany of public attacks on Apple’s policies, compliance plan, and business model.” This refers to complaints the Epic Games executive recently made about the system Apple is using to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act.

Sweeney didn’t pull any punches, using the terms “malicious compliance” and “hot garbage” to describe the rules Apple laid out in February for allowing European iPhone users to install applications from outside the App Store.

The iPhone-maker pointed out that it has the right to terminate Epic’s developer account “at any time and at Apple sole discretion.” A right it has now used.


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