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Apple reverses course and allows Epic Games to start competing in the App Store| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Days after Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, publicly complained that Apple had prevented it from starting a competing app store in Europe, the technology companies said that Apple had changed course and would allow Epic to move forward with its plan.

The rollback highlights how Apple is changing its operations to comply with a new European technology competition law. That law, the Digital Markets Act, which went into effect Thursday, requires Apple to provide app makers with alternatives for selling software to iPhone and iPad users, including the ability to use app stores and payment systems from the app. competition other than yours.

By opening up the iPhone to competing stores, European regulators hope smartphone users across the region will benefit from lower prices. Epic Games, which planned to start a competing app store, currently charges a 12 percent commission for every game it sells on personal computers and other platforms. The fee is less than half the 30 percent Apple typically charges.

“People ask: Why do you need another app store?” said Justin Kan, one of the founders of the video game streaming service Twitch and creator of Stash, an open payments platform for video game companies. “But competition generally leads to lower prices. Ultimately, it's probably good for Apple because it could grow the app market.”

Apple and Epic have been fighting over App Store commissions for years. In 2020, Epic broke App Store rules by encouraging customers to pay directly for Fortnite features. Apple expelled Epic from the App Store and Epic sued Apple for violating antitrust law by requiring developers to use their payment system.

The dispute was reignited over European competition law. Epic planned to start a competing app store called Epic Games Store through a subsidiary in Sweden. Apple initially granted subsidiary Epic Games Sweden AB a developer account so it could access the software tools needed for launch.

But Apple later terminated Epic's account, saying it couldn't trust Epic to follow its rules. Apple also complained that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney had called Apple's plan to comply with the new tech law “hot garbage.”

On Wednesday, Sweeney said he had assured Apple that Epic would follow the rules. He also posted emails in which he made those assurances directly to Apple.

An Apple spokesperson said Friday that Epic had committed to following its rules, including its policies in Europe.

Sweeney said Apple changed its plan after a “rapid investigation” by European regulators. She called it “a great victory for the European rule of law, for the European Commission and for the freedom of developers around the world to speak.”

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