EU looking into Apple’s decision to kill Epic Games’ developer account

European Union Investigates Apple’s Decision to Terminate Epic Games’ Developer Account

The European Union (EU) is examining Apple’s move to shut down Epic Games’ developer account following revelations from Epic regarding the termination last month. The EU believes several regulations might apply to this situation.

Yesterday, Epic announced Apple had ended its developer account, halting plans to introduce the Epic Games Store on iOS in Europe and bring Fortnite to Apple’s platform. Accusations were levied against Apple for reportedly infringing upon the Digital Markets Act (DMA) by eliminating Epic’s developer account.

In response, a European Commission representative informed TechCrunch that the EU requested “further explanations” from Apple concerning the issue under the DMA. As of tonight, the DMA becomes enforceable across the EU. Additionally, the EU is assessing potential compliance issues related to the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Platform-to-Business Regulation (P2B), considering the connections between the developer program membership and the App Store as a significant platform.

Rules set forth in the DMA require Apple, as a designated ‘gatekeeper,’ and its App Store, as a key platform service, to enable third-party app stores. Noncompliance could result in severe consequences – fines reaching up to 10% of global yearly revenue or 20% for repeated offenses.

Although certain parts of the DSA, which affects both Apple’s App Store as a designated Very Large Online Platform (VLOP), have been active since August 2023, the remaining provisions took effect recently. Infractions of the DSA carry potential sanctions amounting to 6% of worldwide annual income.

Moreover, the P2B regulation aims to enhance platform transparency and restrict harmful practices. It became effective earlier, in 2020. Sudden and unexplainable account suspensions are disallowed under the P2B legislation, but enforcement falls to national regulatory bodies rather than the Commission itself.

Epic alleged that Apple terminated its developer account due to criticisms of Apple’s DMA proposition, which mandates developers to agree to new terms and conditions incorporating a new ‘core technology.’ In reaction, Apple released a firm statement refuting these claims and referencing a US court ruling as grounds for the action taken against Epic.

Apple argued that Epic’s violation of its Developer Program License Agreement (DPLA) warranted the termination, pointing to a September 2021 US court verdict involving Epic’s lawsuit against Apple over alleged abuse of market power. This case resulted in no requirement for Apple to admit third-party app stores or support sideloading.

However, under the EU’s DMA, Apple is obligated to grant access to third-party app stores and facilitate third-party software installations while barring businesses from selling products exclusively through their own channels. The US court ruling cited by Apple to defend the termination is unlikely to influence the EU’s stance. Nevertheless, Apple may attempt to leverage different legal frameworks to counterbalance each other.

When reached out to, Apple declined to comment beyond its previous statements, maintaining that the termination of Epic’s account extends beyond the EU. Furthermore, Epic remains engaged in litigation against Apple in the United States and Australia.

Update: Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton added his perspective, stating, “Under the DMA, there is no space for gatekeepers to intimidate developers.” He instructed developers to share their experiences with noncompliant gatekeepers.

EU looking into Apple’s decision to kill Epic Games’ developer account