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Apple retreats in Epic feud, lets Fortnite comeback in EU

People in shadow walk past a Fortnite game computer monitor at an event in New York City, U.S., December 4, 2023

March 8 (mod1s) - Under pressure from European authorities, Apple (AAPL.O), opens new tab took a step back in its fight with Epic Games on Friday, opening the way for Epic to install its own game shop on iPhones and iPads in Europe. 

Earlier this week, Apple had taken efforts to prohibit Epic from establishing up a shop and bringing back the popular game Fortnite, which Apple pulled off its App shop in 2020 after Epic breached the iPhone maker's in-app payment regulations in protest.

Apple's decision to open its door to Epic follows the European Union's Thursday deadline for Big Tech companies to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a set of rules that bans Apple and Google (GOOGL.O), opens new tab from controlling which apps are distributed on devices with the iOS and Android operating systems. 

Thierry Breton, the EU's industry leader, claimed officials had notified Apple about the iPhone maker's plan earlier this week to stop Epic's prospective comeback.

"I take note with delight that after our interactions Apple chose to rethink its decision on Epic exclusion. From Day 2, #DMA is already showing extremely clear effects!" Breton stated on the X social media platform. 

Epic and Apple have been in a legal war since 2020, when the gaming giant asserted that Apple's practice of collecting up to 30% commissions on in-app payments on its iOS devices violated U.S. antitrust regulations. Epic lost its legal fight against Apple, and the game maker's plan to purposely breach Apple's rules as a protest got it banned from Apple's devices.

Epic's triumph on Friday left it far short of all it wants from Apple. 

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has challenged Apple's plans for complying with the DMA, under which Apple maintains it still has the authority to reject third-party software markets from its devices under specific situations. And Fortnite remains inaccessible on the App Store in the United States. 

For its part, Apple is battling with an erosion of its App Store revenue model at the same time it has informed investors that iPhone sales this quarter would be billions of dollars fewer than what Wall Street predicted.

The most recent conflict between Apple and Epic concerns Apple's developer accounts, which are generally a small but required administrative step for developers before selling programs on Apple devices. 

Apple on Friday restored Epic Games' developer account two days after it had prevented the business from creating its own online marketplace for iPhones and iPads in Europe. 

The game company says it would carry on with its plans to bring the Epic Games Store and Fortnite back to iOS in the continent. 

"This sends a strong signal to developers that the European Commission will act swiftly to enforce the Digital Markets Act and hold gatekeepers accountable," Epic Games noted. 

Apple earlier this week said it had canceled Epic's account because the company's conduct made it wonder if it planned to follow the new guidelines Apple has put forth to comply with the DMA. 

"Following negotiations with Epic, they have pledged to respect the regulations, including our DMA principles. As a consequence, Epic Sweden AB has been approved to re-sign the developer agreement and admitted into the Apple Developer Program," Apple stated in a statement.


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