Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, has a lot to say about the changes Apple made to its App Store in the European Union. In a lengthy post on X (formerly Twitter), Sweeney calls the update “a new instance of Malicious Compliance” — or, in layman’s terms, “hot garbage.”
This afternoon, Apple announced it would allow sideloading, alternative app stores, and third-party browser engines on the iPhone with the rollout of iOS 17.4 this March. The company will also open up the App Store to game streaming services, and will finally allow developers to use alternative in-app payment options. Apple made the changes to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which requires large tech companies to follow a strict set of rules aimed at encouraging competition in the mobile app market and other areas.
Epic, which operates the Epic Games Store as well as the game Fortnite, has been one of the companies calling most loudly for these kinds of changes. It fought a long-running legal battle against Apple’s “walled garden” approach to the App Store in the US.
However, Sweeney doesn’t think Apple’s planned changes are fair to developers. He claims Apple is forcing them to “choose between App Store exclusivity and the store terms, which will be illegal under DMA, or accept a new also-illegal anticompetitive scheme rife with new Junk Fees on downloads and new Apple taxes on payments they don’t process.” Sweeney is likely referring to the new €0.50 (around 54 cents) Core Technology Fee Apple will charge for each annual install for apps downloaded over 1 million times in the EU.
Sweeney also takes issue with the fact Apple can “choose which stores are allowed to compete with their App Store.” He says Apple could technically block Epic from launching its storefront, and the same goes for Microsoft, Valve, Good Old Games, and others. Still, Sweeney says his goal is to launch the Epic Games Store on iOS and Android and become the “#1 multi-platform software store. on the foundation of payment competition, 0%-12% fees, and exclusive games like Fortnite.”
We’re bound to see more developers respond to Apple’s new rule changes in the coming days. Spotify, for example, has already said it will launch an in-app payment system in the EU once the DMA goes into effect. Both Epic and Spotify are some of Apple’s most outspoken critics, with both companies hitting back at Apple for imposing a 27 percent tax on purchases made outside the App Store in the US.
Sweeney will surely have more to say about Apple’s EU policies, too, and it seems like he’s just getting started. “There’s a lot more hot garbage in Apple’s announcement,” he says. “It will take more time to parse both the written and unwritten parts of this new horror show, so stay tuned.”
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