Epic Games Lashes Out at Apple Over App Store Rejection

Fortnite maker Epic Games publicly lashed out at Apple on Friday, after its latest proposal for a rival iOS App Store was rejected by the smartphone maker. The company said on X that this rejection was triggered after Apple argued the design of Epic’s app store too closely resembled its own.

This decision follows Epic’s attempt to submit an iOS version of the Epic Games Store last week, a move that would make it possible for iPhone and iPad users to download games onto their device without visiting Apple’s App Store.

“Apple’s rejection is arbitrary, obstructive, and in violation of the DMA [Digital Markets Act],” Epic said on Friday in a statement released on X, adding that the company had already shared its concerns with the European Commission. Apple has rejected Epic’s Game Store notarization submission—a process where apps are submitted to the company for review—twice in the past week, Epic spokesperson Elka Looks told WIRED.

The case is part of a wider battle over who gets to control the apps available to hundreds of millions of people. In a blow to the U giant, Apple has been compelled by the Digital Markets Act, new EU rules, to allow alternatives to its own brand app store on European iPhones and iPads since March.

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Apple’s App store

Courtesy of Apple

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Epic’s proposed rival app store submission

Courtesy of Epic

“Apple has rejected our Epic Games Store notarization submission twice now, claiming the design and position of Epic’s ‘Install’ button is too similar to Apple’s ‘Get’ button and that our ‘In-app purchases’ label is too similar to the App Store’s ‘In-App Purchases’ label,” the company said.

Epic explained its naming conventions echoed Apple’s because it was “trying to build a store that mobile users can easily understand.” Apple did not reply to WIRED’s request for comment.

There are more than 100 million people who use Apple’s App Store in the EU. The launch of the Epic Games Store would, for the first time, give those users a choice of where they want to download apps.

That moment is eagerly awaited by lawmakers who argue that the tech giants are repressing competition by blocking rivals’ access to their users. “The launch of an alternative app store within the Apple system would create a huge proof, that the DMA can stimulate competition and thereby bring down prices for consumers,” Andreas Schwab, a member of the European Parliament who helped negotiate the DMA, told WIRED.

Epic and Apple are longtime rivals. In 2020, Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple in California, arguing the company’s grip over the iOS market was “unreasonable and unlawful.” Apple came out of the US case (mostly) victorious. But in Europe, Epic has become part of a vocal community of developers who are seething about the power they perceive Apple’s App Store to wield over their businesses and the commission the company charges on in-app purchases.

“Apple holds app providers ransom like the Mafia,” Matthias Pfau, CEO and cofounder of Tuta, an encrypted email provider, told WIRED earlier this year. Epic’s alternative app store proposal is a test case for the possibility of other alternative app stores that could reshape the relationship between Apple and developers.

The Epic Games Store is already available on PC, Mac, and Android, but not on Google Play. Now, the company plans to continue seeking approval for its iOS version, it said: “Barring further roadblocks from Apple, we remain ready to launch in the Epic Games Store … on iOS in the EU in the next couple of months.”