Apple faces EU scrutiny for terminating Epic’s developer account

Apple finds itself under the European Union’s microscope following its decision to terminate Epic Games’ developer account, blocking the gaming company from establishing its own app store for iPhone users in Europe. This move has reignited the ongoing feud between the two tech giants and raised concerns over potential violations of the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Epic Games – the creator of popular game Fortnite – expressed outrage after Apple abruptly ended its developer account, effectively preventing the distribution of Fortnite and the Epic Games Store on iOS devices within the EU.

Tim Sweeney, Epic’s CEO, accused Apple of breaching the EU’s new DMA regulations, which officially came into force just a day after the termination.

The termination of Epic’s developer account sets the stage for yet another legal showdown between Apple and EU regulators, with the tech giant facing the prospect of hefty penalties. This development follows closely on the heels of Apple’s recent €1.8 billion fine imposed by the EU for alleged anti-competitive behaviour in its treatment of music streaming rivals.

In response to the escalating situation, a spokesperson for the EU Commission confirmed that they had initiated inquiries into Apple’s actions regarding Epic’s developer account under the DMA. The DMA – which applies stringent regulations to major tech companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Meta – aims to ensure fair competition and transparency in digital markets.

Under the DMA, companies found in violation of its provisions could face fines of up to 10% of their global annual revenue, escalating to 20% for repeat offenders. The Commission is also investigating whether Apple’s actions contravene other digital regulations, particularly those related to transparency with business users.

This latest clash between Apple and Epic is not new, as the two companies have been embroiled in legal battles since 2020 when Epic attempted to circumvent Apple’s payment system for in-app purchases. Although Apple largely prevailed in the courtroom, a judge’s ruling compelled the tech giant to facilitate easier access to external payment methods for developers.

In its defence, Apple cited Epic’s previous breaches of contractual obligations as grounds for terminating its developer account. The tech giant asserted its right to take such actions in response to Epic’s “egregious breach” of agreements.

Looking ahead, Apple’s recent announcement of updates to its iOS, Safari, and App Store offerings in the EU is expected to attract further scrutiny from the European Commission. Whether these changes comply with EU regulations remains to be seen, as regulators continue to monitor Apple’s conduct closely.

Apple’s clash with Epic and the ensuing regulatory scrutiny highlight the growing tensions between tech giants and regulators worldwide, underscoring the need for comprehensive oversight in digital markets.

(Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash)

See also: Google: Meta’s approach to Android 14 is a ‘blueprint’ for success 

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Tags: apple, coding, development, digital markets act, dma, epic games, eu, europe, european union, gaming, ios, law, legal, mobile, programming, smartphone

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