Apple’s recent announcement of changes to its App Store in the EU has caused quite a stir. The tech giant is making these changes to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). But not everyone’s happy about it.
Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney, has been particularly vocal. He’s called the changes a “new instance of Malicious Compliance” or, to put it bluntly, “hot garbage.”
So, what are these changes? Well, Apple’s planning to allow sideloading and alternative app stores. They’re also introducing third-party browser engines and more. These changes are set to roll out with iOS 17.4 in March.
The DMA is behind all this. It’s an EU mandate that requires tech giants to play nice and promote competition in the mobile app market.
Epic Games, the folks behind Fortnite, have been pushing for such changes. They’ve even taken Google and Apple to court over their closed app distribution ecosystems. But Sweeney thinks Apple’s changes are unfair to developers.
Apple’s essentially forcing developers to choose, according to Sweeney. They can either stick with App Store exclusivity and its terms, which he reckons will be illegal under DMA. Or they can accept a new, allegedly illegal, anticompetitive scheme.
Sweeney’s got a bone to pick with the new €0.50 Core Technology Fee. It’s a charge for each annual install for apps downloaded over 1 million times in the EU. He’s labeled these as “Junk Fees.”
And there’s more. Sweeney’s worried about Apple having the power to choose which stores can compete with the App Store. He’s concerned that Apple could block Epic, Microsoft, Valve, and others from launching their own storefronts.
Despite these hurdles, Sweeney’s got big plans. He wants to launch the Epic Games Store on iOS and Android. His goal? To become the “#1 multi-platform software store.” He’s banking on payment competition, low fees (0% to 12%), and exclusive titles like Fortnite to get him there.
Other developers, like Spotify, are also planning to respond to Apple’s rule changes. Spotify’s looking to introduce an in-app payment system in the EU once the DMA kicks in. Both Epic and Spotify have been vocal critics of Apple, especially against the 27 percent tax on purchases made outside the App Store in the US.
Sweeney’s hinted at more critiques to come. He’s said, “There’s a lot more hot garbage in Apple’s announcement,” and promises more insights as details emerge.