Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

'Verifiably untrustworthy' Epic Games iOS app store plans in EU killed by Apple

Still from the Epic Games-produced ad criticizing Apple for being like the book '1984'

The Epic vs. Apple bad blood continues, as Apple has called Epic 'verifiably untrustworthy' and shut down the developer account it made to develop a 3rd-party app store in the European Union.

The latest chapter of the fight between Epic and Apple has been detailed by the former in a blog post on Wednesday. In it, the company says that Apple has killed a new developer account that it spun up to make an iOS App Store, preventing Epic from developing what it calls the biggest threat to Apple's dominance.

A series of emails between Apple's Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, Epic's Game Store manager Steve Allison, and Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney are at the heart of Epic's post on Wednesday. In them, Schiller asks Sweeney why Apple should trust Epic this time.

Sweeney's response was apparently insufficient. It's unclear if the executives had further discussion beyond what Epic included in the post.

However, an included response to Epic by Apple's attorneys clearly shows why Apple says Epic isn't being allowed to develop an App Store.

"Apple recently reached out directly to Mr. Sweeney to give him an opportunity to explain why Apple should trust Epic this time and allow Epic Games Sweden AB to become an active developer. Mr. Sweeney's response to that request was wholly insufficient and not credible. It boiled down to an unsupported 'trust us.' History shows, however, that Epic is verifiably untrustworthy, hence the request for meaningful commitments."

A later statement from Apple further spells it out.

"Epic's egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple led courts to determine that Apple has the right to terminate 'any or all of Epic Games' wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games' control at any time and at Apple's sole discretion,'" Apple said in a statement to AppleInsider. "In light of Epic's past and ongoing behavior, Apple chose to exercise that right."

Epic says that this move is in retaliation for Epic CEO Tim Sweeney's remarks about Apple's compliance with the EU Digital Markets Act. Sweeney noted that Apple's opening up to third-party app stores was "more hot garbage," and a "new horror show." He also called out the company for its "devious new instance of Malicious Compliance."

Wednesday's post also spells out what Epic has done, and continues to do, on Apple platforms, predominantly related to the Unreal Engine on iOS, macOS, and coming to visionOS.

It's unclear if Epic will provide Apple with the details it is asking for regarding why the game maker should be trusted. This matter, and Apple's Digital Markets Act compliance as a whole, are likely to see legal action.

Apple canceled the Epic Games developer account in August 2020, after the gaming firm violated App Store agreements in what turned out to be the start of a years-old legal battle. Apple wanted to remove all of Epic's developer accounts, but a judge insisted that removing its Unreal Engine account would have harmful effects on its countless users.

Epic had asked Apple to allow it a developer account when it wanted to sell apps in Korea. Apple refused. The company said that it would only allow Epic Games back when it "agree[s] to play by the same rules as everyone else."

Then while Epic Games its legal case against Apple, the EU introduced the Digital Markets Act. As a consequence, Apple has had to allow for alternative app stores within the region.

Epic announced its intention to open a third-party App Store almost immediately, and had a developer account to do so — until Apple killed it.