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EU Authorities Probe Deeper into Apple and Epic Games’ Escalating Conflict

 |  March 7, 2024

Tech giant Apple is facing scrutiny from European Union regulators over its handling of the dispute with Fortnite maker Epic Games, concerning the launch of its own online marketplace on iPhones and iPads in Europe. The EU has called upon Apple to explain its actions and whether they violate EU technology rules, according to antitrust regulators on Thursday.

The conflict stems from Apple’s decision to terminate a new developer account created by Epic Games in Sweden. Epic Games attempted to introduce its own game store on Apple’s devices, leveraging newly implemented EU regulations, known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which demand Apple to open up its closed ecosystem to competitors, reported Reuters.

Apple, however, thwarted the effort, citing Epic’s previous breaches of contract in their ongoing legal battle. The termination of Epic’s developer account has raised concerns among EU regulators regarding potential violations of the DMA, Digital Services Act (DSA), and the Platform to Business Regulation (P2B).

“We have requested further explanations on this from Apple under the DMA,” stated a European Commission spokesperson in an email. “We are also evaluating whether Apple’s actions raise doubts on their compliance with the DSA and the P2B, given the links between the developer programme membership and the App store as designated VLOP (very large online platform).”

Related: Epic Games Accuses Apple of Retaliation, Alleges Developer Account Ban

Under the DSA, decisions regarding the suspension or termination of accounts must be proportional and consider fundamental rights. Meanwhile, the P2B requires platforms to notify business users of changes to terms and conditions before closing an account.

Apple reiterated its stance on Thursday, asserting that its actions were within its rights as determined by courts. “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’,” said an Apple spokesperson.

The clash between Apple and Epic Games highlights the growing tension between tech giants and regulators, as the EU seeks to enforce stricter rules to foster competition and protect consumer rights in the digital marketplace.

Source: Reuters