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Internet: Apple allows account from “Fortnite” company Epic again

Internet: Apple allows account from “Fortnite” company Epic again

Apple has reauthorized a developer account from the “Fortnite” company Epic a few days after it was blocked. The EU Commission sees this as a success of the new DMA digital law.

The makers of the online game “Fortnite” can now continue working on returning to the iPhone in the EU. Apple reopened Epic Games’ Swedish developer account, which had been locked out a few days earlier.

The iPhone company said Epic had promised in discussions to follow the platform’s rules including the implementation of the DMA digital law. The game developer then announced that they would continue to work on their own platform for game downloads in Europe as planned.

Apple had previously pointed out that after previous rule violations by Epic, the company’s right to exclude the developer company from the platform had been confirmed in court. The EU Commission, which monitors compliance with DMA requirements, immediately demanded an explanation from Apple about the expulsion. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton also attributed Apple’s about-face to the authority’s contacts with the company. This shows that the DMA is bringing concrete results, he wrote on the online service X (formerly Twitter).

Trustworthy via alternative store?

With the DMA (Digital Markets Act) coming into effect, Apple in the EU has had to allow applications from sources other than the in-house App Store to be downloaded on the iPhone for the first time since Thursday. Epic wants to use this to bring back “Fortnite,” which has been banned from the App Store since August 2020 after violating the rules, at least in the European Union.

Epic made the new controversy public in a blog post on Wednesday. Accordingly, on March 2nd, Apple blocked a Swedish developer account from Epic Games that had been set up a few weeks earlier. The lawyers’ letter, also published, states that Epic “demonstrably cannot be trusted.”

The trigger for the long dispute was an attempt by Epic to use a trick in 2020 to avoid the 15 or 30 percent levy on the purchase price that Apple withholds from transactions in its App Store. A version of the application with hidden software code was passed on to the company’s app reviewers, which allowed users to buy virtual items even through Apple. Apple kicked “Fortnite” from the App Store because of the rule violation. Epic, on the other hand, went to court in the USA, but lost in all instances.

Apple and the five gatekeepers

Epic described the banning of the Swedish developer account as retaliation for company boss Tim Sweeney’s sharp criticism of Apple’s implementation of the DMA requirements. He had described Apple’s planned rules for other app marketplaces as “garbage” and accused the company of wanting to slow down competition. Sweeney recently followed up and wrote on X that Apple was trying to intimidate app developers.

Apple has been named by the EU Commission as one of six “gatekeeper” companies subject to stricter competition requirements under the DMA. In the new conditions, Apple is introducing, among other things, a fee of 50 cents for each additional initial installation after one million downloads of an app in a twelve-month period.

The developers can also stay in the old model and only distribute their apps via Apple’s App Store. However, if they switch to the new system, there is no way back to the previous conditions. The group calls app installations from other sources a security risk.

The music streaming market leader Spotify also accuses Apple of wanting to make sales via other marketplaces economically unviable for app developers by implementing the DMA. However, there are also announcements about the launch of app marketplaces for the iPhone beyond Epic’s plans.

Source: Stern

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