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Apple Blocks Developer Account for Epic Games Amid Continuing Disputes

Epic Games app and Apple App Store

Apple has blocked Epic Games from getting a developer account that Epic planned to use to launch a new app store on iPhones in Europe.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said he sees the move as retaliation for Epic’s antitrust actions, lawsuit against Apple, and criticisms of Apple’s App Store policies, CNBC reported Wednesday (March 6).

The dispute stems from a disagreement beginning in 2020 about Apple’s 30% commission fees, leading to a lawsuit from Epic and subsequent policy adjustments by Apple, according to the report.

Amid the latest dispute, Apple defended its decision to reject Epic’s application for a developer account, citing what it said were Epic’s previous violations of contractual obligations and ongoing legal disputes, per the report.

The conflict is set against the backdrop of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), a new antitrust law that will go into effect this week and aims to foster competition by allowing third-party app stores, the report said.

Sweeney criticized Apple’s refusal to grant Epic a developer account, seeing it as a demand for loyalty and silence on public critique, per the report.

Apple’s rejection of the application is the first known example of it doing so and is a move that could lead to scrutiny of its compliance with the DMA, according to the report.

The report comes a day after Apple announced it has made some changes to its policies around app distribution in the EU in response to feedback it received about its previously updated terms.

It was reported that these changes were made after app developers criticized Apple’s previous proposal, which was announced in January, and aim to comply with the DMA before it goes into effect Thursday (March 7).

Apple’s latest dispute with Epic Games also comes a day after it was reported that EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said that the DMA’s first focus will be on app stores, with her priority being that smaller app stores be given fair access to operating systems.

Vestager said it is important that if users are dissatisfied with one app store, they can go to another.