In response to Apple’s recent announcement of changes to its App Store in the European Union (EU) to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, expressed strong criticism, calling it “a new instance of Malicious Compliance” or, in simpler terms, “hot garbage.”
Apple’s modifications include allowing sideloading, alternative app stores, third-party browser engines, and more, with the rollout of iOS 17.4 in March. These changes come as a response to the EU’s DMA, which mandates tech giants to adhere to specific rules promoting competition in the mobile app market.
Epic Games, known for its Epic Games Store and Fortnite, has been a vocal advocate for such alterations and engaged in a legal battle against both Google and Apple’s closed app distribution ecosystem. However, Sweeney deems Apple’s planned changes unfair to developers.
Apple is essentially pushing developers to choose between App Store exclusivity and the store’s terms
He argues that Apple is essentially pushing developers to make a choice between App Store exclusivity and the store’s terms, which he claims will be illegal under DMA, or accepting a new, allegedly illegal, anticompetitive scheme. Sweeney points to the introduction of a €0.50 Core Technology Fee for each annual install for apps downloaded over 1 million times in the EU as an example of these alleged “Junk Fees.”
Moreover, Sweeney raises concerns about Apple having the authority to choose which stores are allowed to compete with the App Store. He suggests that Apple could potentially block Epic, Microsoft, Valve, and others from launching their storefronts.
Despite these challenges, Sweeney outlines his goal to launch the Epic Games Store on iOS and Android, aiming to become the “#1 multi-platform software store” based on payment competition, low fees ranging from 0% to 12%, and exclusive titles like Fortnite.
Other developers, including Spotify, have already signaled their intent to respond to Apple’s rule changes. Spotify plans to introduce an in-app payment system in the EU once the DMA is in effect. Both Epic and Spotify have been vocal critics of Apple, particularly against the 27 percent tax imposed on purchases made outside the App Store in the United States. Sweeney hints at further critiques, stating, “There’s a lot more hot garbage in Apple’s announcement,” and promises additional insights as more details emerge.