Shockingly, Apple and Epic Games Still Aren’t Getting Along

Epic Games, on X two days ago:

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.

We are using the same “Install” and “In-app purchases” naming conventions that are used across popular app stores on multiple platforms, and are following standard conventions for buttons in iOS apps. We’re just trying to build a store that mobile users can easily understand, and the disclosure of in-app purchases is a regulatory best practice followed by all stores nowadays.

Apple’s rejection is arbitrary, obstructive, and in violation of the DMA, and we’ve shared our concerns with the European Commission. Barring further roadblocks from Apple, we remain ready to launch in the Epic Games Store and Fortnite on iOS in the EU in the next couple of months.

Later that same day:

Update: Apple has informed us that our previously rejected Epic Games Store notarization submission has now been accepted.

Tim Sweeney:

Epic had supported notarization during Epic v Apple on the basis that Mac’s mandatory malware scanning could add value to iOS. Now it’s disheartening to see Apple twist its once-honest notarization process into another vector to manipulate and thwart competition.

Asked if he would provide screenshots of the rejected screens, Sweeney responded:

We shared screenshots with EC regulators. We want to compete with other stores by having a big exciting product rollout, which means not trickling out media publicly before launch with the Apple fan press doing a teardown using Phil Schiller crafted talking points.

Epic is certainly under no obligation to reveal screenshots of its in-progress iOS games marketplace, but without screenshots, there’s also no reason for anyone to take their own description of the notarization dispute with Apple at face value. Epic Games is an unreliable narrator. Last year the FTC fined Epic $245 million “to settle charges that the company used dark patterns to trick players into making unwanted purchases and let children rack up unauthorized charges without any parental involvement.”

Was Apple’s rejection of Epic’s notarization submission as petty and silly as Epic makes it sound? Maybe! Or perhaps Epic’s Game Store is designed to trick users into thinking it’s Apple’s own official App Store, and there’s nothing silly about the rejection at all. But in that case, it still might be illegal under the DMA for Apple to reject the submission for notarization — the DMA may well require Apple to notarize a third-party marketplace app that is a pixel-for-pixel rip-off of the App Store app, so long as it’s not outright malware.

The point is, we don’t know. And one party, Apple, is barely commenting on the fracas, and the other, Epic, was just fined a quarter of a billion dollars for tricking users, including children, into making unwanted purchases.

Sunday, 7 July 2024