A Clash of the Titans: Apple Hits Back at Epic Games by Terminating its Developer Account

Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, made a startling announcement today that Apple had shut down its developer account, marking a dramatic turn in the ongoing saga between the two companies. 

This comes after Epic’s previous statement last month that their account had been given the green light, suggesting that they could bring Fortnite back to iOS devices in the EU under the new Digital Markets Act (DMA). 

However, Epic now alleges that Apple has sent a letter from its legal team terminating its Epic Games Sweden AB account, claiming that this action is a “grave violation of the DMA” and a clear sign that Apple is not interested in fostering fair competition on iOS devices.

Epic Games Claims 

Apple is eliminating one of the biggest possible rivals to the Apple App Store by cancelling Epic’s developer account.

Epic claims on its corporate blog, which also features copies of its contract with Apple, that “they are undermining our ability to be a viable competitor, and they are showing other developers what happens when you try to compete with Apple or are critical of their unfair practices.”

The game developer claims that Epic’s criticism of Apple’s planned DMA regulations, particularly this post on X (previously Twitter) by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, was one of the arguments Apple used to back their decision. 

Naturally, Epic has been a pain in Apple’s side, suing the company over antitrust issues and pushing for laws in various jurisdictions to limit Apple’s clout and influence over the app business.

It appears that Apple would prefer to be done with Epic as a result. Epic claims that Apple informed the business that it poses “a threat to their ecosystem.”

Nevertheless, Epic claimed that after requesting one of the DMA consultations that Apple is providing for its App Store developers, it had informed Apple in writing once more about its intentions and would comply with all the requirements of the developer agreements. At first, the request was turned down. Once it consented to follow its guidelines, Apple’s attorneys issued a letter cancelling Epic Games Sweden AB’s account.

According to a letter written by Apple executive Phil Schiller, Epic believes the tech giant is punishing it for speaking up.

In the letter dated February 23, 2024, Schiller reminds Epic of past agreements with Apple and mentions testimony about deliberately violating Apple’s rules for financial gain. Schiller also refers to recent criticism from Epic about compliance and fees, suggesting that Epic’s actions and words indicate a lack of intention to follow the rules, which could threaten the integrity, security, and privacy of the iOS platform.

We have described our DMA compliance as ‘hot garbage,’ a ‘horror show,’ and a ‘devious new instance of Malicious Compliance.’ And you have complained about what you called ‘Junk Fees’ and ‘Apple Taxes.”

Schiller suggests that Epic’s “colourful criticism” combined with its past actions “strongly suggests that Epic Sweden does not intend to follow the rules.” He adds that another intentional breach could “threaten the integrity of the iOS platform, as well as the security and privacy of users.”

“…in plain, unqualified terms, please tell us why we should trust Epic at this time,” he concludes.

It highlighted, as well, that its company has contractual relationships with Apple going back to 2010 for Epic’s Games, Unreal Engine, and other creator tools, and Apple itself has been a public supporter of Epic’s Unreal Engine.

So Why Does Apple Think They Have the Right to Terminate Epic’s Developer Account?

Apple feels that the September 2021 ruling, which came about as a result of Epic’s legal battle with Apple, gives it the authority to close Epic’s account. According to this ruling, “Apple has the contractual right, at any time and at Apple’s sole discretion, to terminate its DPLA with any or all of Epic Games’ wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games’ control.”

Apple also mentioned that Epic Games Sweden signed a click-through agreement to enter into the Apple Developer Programme Licence Agreement; at that time, Apple had not conducted an executive review of the deal.


In a corporate world of tit-for-tat and eye-for-eye, it feels like Apple and Epic are two big kids fighting over the most trivial of things.

However, in this case, what seems trivial is in the billions. Unfortunately, when billions are at stake, people tend to act irrationally. Hmm, so maybe they’re two kinds in a playground fighting over a chocolate bar—a billion-dollar chocolate bar.

Source: TechCrunch

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Oladipo Lawson

Oladipo is an economics graduate with multifaceted interests. He's a seasoned tech writer and gamer and a passionate Arsenal F.C. fan. Beyond these, Dipo is a culinary adventurer, trend-setting stylist, data science hobbyist, and an energised traveller, embodying intellectual versatility and mastery of many fields.

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