Mar 11, 2024 2 min read

Epic declares DMA victory after EU intervention forces speedy change in Apple policy position

The EU Digital Markets Act went properly into effect last week impacting Apple’s App Store rules. App developers have criticised how Apple plans to comply with the act, although Epic Games says that it has already seen the benefit thanks to an intervention by the European Commission

Epic declares DMA victory after EU intervention forces speedy change in Apple policy position

The boss of Fortnite owner Epic Games declared on Friday that the European Union's Digital Markets Act has scored its "first major victory", after an intervention from the European Commission resulted in Apple back-tracking on a decision to block the gaming company from launching its own store on iOS devices within the EU. 

It comes amid disagreements between Apple and the likes of Epic and Spotify over what the tech giant needs to do in order to comply with the new EU laws. Epic, like Spotify, has been involved in a long battle with Apple over the impact of its App Store rules on in-app payments and communications, a battle which resulted in the Fortnite app disappearing from iOS devices. 

Earlier last week, as the new EU laws came fully into effect, Epic said in a statement, "Apple has terminated our developer account and now we cannot develop the Epic Games Store for iOS. This is a serious violation of the EU’s Digital Markets Act. We will continue to fight to get back on iOS!"

Then on Friday, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted, "The DMA went through its first major challenge with Apple banning Epic Games Sweden from competing with the App Store, and the DMA just had its first major victory. Following a swift inquiry by the European Commission, Apple notified the Commission and Epic that it would relent and restore our access to bring back Fortnite and launch Epic Games Store in Europe under the DMA law”. 

“A big win for European rule of law, for the European Commission, and for the freedom of developers worldwide to speak up", he added.

App developers like Epic and Spotify hope that the DMA will force changes to Apple's rules allowing them more flexibility when it comes to taking payments and communicating with users through their iOS apps. For its part, Spotify recently published a blog post bigging up the extra functionality it was planning for EU users once the DMA was in force. 

But then Apple announced how it planned to comply with the DMA which, Spotify said, meant it was no better off and that the promised new functionality wouldn't be able to go ahead. 

On 1 Mar, Epic and Spotify joined other app makers in signing an open letter to European Commissioner Thierry Breton stating, "We are very concerned that Apple’s proposed scheme for compliance with the Digital Markets Act ... will not meet the law’s requirements therefore inhibiting our ability to deliver the benefits of the DMA to consumers as soon as possible. There are a myriad of elements in Apple’s announcement that do not comply with the DMA". 

App developers will be hoping that last week's intervention regarding Epic's Apple developer account is a sign that the European Commission will be proactive in enforcing the DMA in a way that is useful to them. Suggesting that may indeed be the case, Breton tweeted on Friday, "I take note with satisfaction that following our contacts Apple decided to backtrack its decision on Epic exclusion. From day two, [the] DMA is already showing very concrete results!"

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