Apple Crushes Epic’s App Store Dreams Over the CEO’s Petty Tweets

Apple Crushes Epic’s App Store Dreams Over the CEO’s Petty Tweets

There’s petty, and then there’s Apple’s beef with Epic Games. Apple terminated Epic’s developer account on Wednesday, blocking the company’s ability to make its own Epic Games Store for iOS. Why? All because CEO Tim Sweeney wouldn’t stop dunking on Apple’s unfair practices on Twitter/X.

“Apple is retaliating against Epic for speaking out against Apple’s unfair and illegal practices, just as they’ve done to other developers time and time again,” Epic Games said in a blog post on Wednesday. Apple cited a tweet from Sweeney as one of the main reasons for blocking the Epic Games Store.

So what was Sweeney’s tweet that set Apple over the edge? The Epic CEO called Apple’s core values into question. That’s it.

He asked that company to make some visionary decisions to become the company they advertise to be, a “beloved brand to consumers, partner to developers, and overlord to none.” Sweeney called out Apple’s monopoly in app stores, digital payments, and browsers. Epic’s CEO ended the tweet with a picture of Apple’s founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, working on an early personal computer.

“We don’t want to think about Apple being evil. It would be so inconvenient,” said Paul Graham, founder of the notorious startup incubator Y Combinator, in a tweet Wednesday. “But I see ever more signs that power has corrupted them.”

After years of legal battles between Epic Games and Apple, it appeared the maker of Fortnite was finally getting a chance to make its own app store. European regulators recently passed the Digital Markets Act, which goes into effect this week. The law allows Epic to launch its own marketplace for games on iOS devices, competing with Apple’s App Store. But that victory for Epic Games is now in jeopardy, all over a petty tweet.

Apple says that Epic is “verifiably untrustworthy” and has concerns that Epic “does not intend to adhere to its contractual commitments to Apple.” These comments were issued to Epic in a letter, dated March 2, 2024, and were made public by Epic Games on Wednesday.

In a statement to Gizmodo, Apple says that a U.S. court gave it the right to terminate Epic Games, or any of its subsidiaries, at any time. The iPhone maker continued that this was because of “Epic’s egregious breach of its contractual obligations,” and Apple is now exercising that right.

Regulators are not convinced Apple has the right to do this. The European Commission told TechCrunch Thursday it has “requested further explanations on this from Apple under the DMA.”

In Epic’s U.S. legal battle with Apple, Sweeney testified that his company intentionally breached its Developer Program agreement with Apple to make a point. Apple is asking Epic to prove its trustworthiness before Apple will let them develop an Epic Games Store.

Apple also says Epic Games is a “threat to their ecosystem,” according to the blog post. It’s unclear how this termination of Epic Games will hold up under the Digital Markets Act. The whole point of that legislation is to increase competition and disrupt monopolies. Epic is making the case that Apple is, once again, exerting its power over developers.

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