Photo Alliance / German Press Agency
The smartphone version of “Fortnite” is set to return to Apple's iPhones in the European Union thanks to a new digital DMA law. Developer Epic announced its own App Store for Apple devices this year. Initially there was no specific date.
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) requires large platform operators to allow downloading of apps from third-party sources. Until now, you could only download apps from the iPhone's internal App Store. But this will change when DMA regulations come into force from March 7.
A long dispute over the App Store
“Fortnite” has been unable to download on iPhones for more than three years. Apple banned the game from its App Store in August 2020 after Epic used a trick to avoid a 30 percent tax when purchasing digital content on the platform. Epic took the expulsion case to court but lost. In the United States and outside the European Union, Apple is still under no obligation to allow “Fortnite” into the App Store.
Apple wants to retain some level of control over installation of apps from other app stores in the future. This will only be possible through Apple-approved marketplaces, and the company will scan apps for malware. Apple emphasized in its announcement on Thursday that it wants to protect users. Meanwhile, for apps from third-party sources, a “core technology fee” of 50 euro cents is charged per app installed after one million downloads in the year in question.
Epic president Tim Sweeney accused Apple of undermining competition by implementing DMA in this way. Among other things, he pointed out that by “authenticating” the marketplaces, Apple could block competing app stores from Epic or Microsoft, for example. However, none of this stopped Epic from announcing its own App Store for iPhone shortly after its criticism.
App developers can provide information about third-party payment methods in their apps. This could cost Apple a lot of money.
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