Thursday, July 25, 2024

Apple reverses course to approve Epic Games Store on iOS in EU

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Apple performed an abrupt U-turn over the weekend to approve the Epic Games Store in the European Union.

The volte-face came after a lengthy tirade from Epic at the end of last week. The company stated that its Epic Games Store notarization had been twice rejected by Apple amid claims that the company’s “Install” button looked a bit too much like Apple’s “Get” button and the in-app purchases label was too close to Apple’s own.

Epic Games said: “Apple’s rejection is arbitrary, obstructive, and in violation of the DMA, and we’ve shared our concerns with the European Commission.”

The European Commission recently launched a fresh probe into the fees and terms that Apple imposes on developers as part of its efforts to comply with the European Digital Markets Act (DMA).

If Apple fails to comply with the DMA, it could face fines of up to 10 percent of its global annual revenue.

However, the situation is murky. While Epic Games was quick to boast that its store notarization submission had now been accepted, it took issue with claims that Apple still wanted it to change its user interface in a future version, presumably to deal with those pesky buttons.

“Epic is disputing this,” it said.

The Register contacted Apple to check if this was indeed the case, but we have yet to receive a response.

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney described the situation as “absurd,” saying: “Apple is now telling reporters that this approval is temporary and are demanding we change the buttons in the next version – which would make our store less standard and harder to use. We’ll fight this.”

It is unclear where button shapes could become an issue in the notarization process. Apple’s guidelines state: “Through a combination of automated checks and human review, Notarization will help ensure apps are free of known malware, viruses, or other security threats, function as promised, and don’t expose users to egregious fraud.”

We asked Epic if we could take a look at its store on iOS to understand the issue better, but the company has yet to respond.

The row has been rumbling since 2020, beginning with a lawsuit over the phone maker’s desire to keep its users safe and sound by ensuring that Apple and only Apple could deal with app distribution and app payments – for a mere 30 percent cut. Unsurprisingly, Epic Games, along with other developers, were less than impressed with this situation. ®

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