Apple reverses course and allows Epic Games to start competing app store

New York Times
Mar 8, 2024

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Days after Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, complained publicly that Apple had blocked it from starting a competing app store in Europe, the technology companies said Apple had reversed course and would allow Epic to go ahead with its plan.

The reversal highlights the way that Apple is changing its operations to comply with a new European tech competition law. That law, the Digital Markets Act, which went into effect on Thursday, requires Apple to give app makers alternatives for selling software to iPhone and iPad users, including the ability to use competing app stores and payment systems other than its own.

"Ultimately, it’s probably good for Apple because it could grow the market of apps,” said Justin Kan.

By opening up the iPhone to competing stores, European regulators hope that smartphone users across the region will benefit from lower prices. Epic Games, which planned to start a competing app store, currently takes a 12 percent commission for every game it sells on personal computers and other platforms. The fee is less than half of the 30 percent that Apple typically collects.

“People ask: Why do you need another app store?” said Justin Kan, one of the founders of the video game streaming service Twitch and the creator of Stash, an open payments platform for video game companies. “But competition generally creates lower prices. Ultimately, it’s probably good for Apple because it could grow the market of apps.”

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