Apple Reconsiders, Allows Epic Games to Relaunch Its App Store for iPhone

Epic Games announced that Apple has unblocked its developer account in the App Store, allowing the company to launch its iOS app store in the European Union (EU). This move will enable Epic to reintroduce Fortnite, along with other games, to the iPhone. The decision to unblock Epic’s developer account came to light on Wednesday, quickly prompting the European Commission to investigate possible infringements on the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

In an update to their original announcement, Epic Games stated, “Apple informed us and confirmed to the European Commission that they will restore our developer account. This is a strong signal to developers that the European Commission will act swiftly to ensure compliance with the Digital Markets Act and hold accountable those who deny access. We are moving forward as planned to launch the Epic Games Store and bring back Fortnite to iOS in Europe. Forward!

Epic Games’ CEO, Tim Sweeney, commented on the situation via his social media account, stating, “The DMA faced its first serious test when Apple banned Epic Games Sweden from competing with the App Store, and DMA has just won its first major victory. After a rapid investigation conducted by the European Commission, Apple notified the Commission and Epic that it will back down and restore our access to bring back Fortnite [to iOS] and launch the Epic Games Store in Europe in compliance with DMA law. This is a huge win for European law enforcement, the European Commission, and developers’ freedom to voice their opinion all over the world.

The events unfolded rapidly. The news of the blockage of Epic Games’ developer account in the EU App Store was revealed on Wednesday. Apple justified its action by expressing doubt that Epic would comply with the rules, considering past breaches — particularly, the addition of a third-party payment system in Fortnite, which led to its removal from the App Store. Despite Epic Games’ assurances that it would adhere to all existing and future agreements with Apple, Epic was blocked from iOS access. An argument ensued between Phil Schiller, head of the App Store, and Sweeney, which drew the interest of EU authorities due to potential violations of the DMA law by Apple.

What’s changed since then? Per a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple stated that they reached an agreement with Epic, which has committed to adhere to all rules: “Following negotiations with Epic, they have committed to adhere to the rules including our pending DMA policy. As a result, Epic Sweden AB was permitted to re-sign the developer agreement and has been admitted into the Apple Developer Program.”

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