Apple Explains Why It Terminated Epic’s Latest Developer Account

Apple today said it has terminated Epic Games Sweden’s developer account worldwide due to the game developer’s pattern of untrustworthy behavior.

Apple shared the following statement with MacRumors:Epic’s egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple led courts to determine that Apple has the right to terminate “any or all of Epic Games’ wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games’ control at any time and at Apple’s sole discretion.” In light of Epic’s past and ongoing behavior, Apple chose to exercise that right.In a letter sent to Epic, lawyers representing Apple said that Epic has proven to be “verifiably untrustworthy.” Apple said it cannot be assured that Epic will follow the Apple Developer Program’s terms and conditions in the future.

Epic said that it had intended to use the Swedish account to launch an Epic Games Store on iOS in the EU, and this would have brought the Fortnite app back to the iPhone. Starting with iOS 17.4, Apple allows alternative app marketplaces on the iPhone in the EU, as part of its compliance with the Digital Markets Act.

In a press release, Epic said that Apple terminating the Swedish developer account is a “serious violation” of the Digital Markets Act, and “shows Apple has no intention of allowing true competition on iOS devices.”

More from Epic’s response:In terminating Epic’s developer account, Apple is taking out one of the largest potential competitors to the Apple App Store. They are undermining our ability to be a viable competitor and they are showing other developers what happens when you try to compete with Apple or are critical of their unfair practices.Epic believes that Apple suspended its Swedish developer account in part due to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s public criticism of Apple’s proposed Digital Markets Act compliance plans. Epic shared a letter it received from the App Store’s chief Phil Schiller, who indeed said that Sweeney’s “colorful criticism” of Apple’s plans, but also Epic’s history of “intentionally violating contractual provisions with which it disagrees,” strongly suggest that Epic does not intend to follow the Apple Developer Program rules if reinstated.

The legal battle between the two companies began in 2020, after Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store on the iPhone due to Epic introducing a direct payment option in the app for the in-game currency V-Bucks, in defiance of the App Store rules. In what appears to have been an orchestrated move, Epic promptly filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of anti-competitive behavior.

Apple had already terminated one of Epic’s other developer accounts in 2020 after the company violated the App Store’s rules with its Fortnite stunt.

Epic continues to litigate against Apple in both the U.S. and Australia, and it appears that the highly-publicized legal battle is far from over.

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