Apple denies Epic's request for App Store reinstatement
At the end of last month, South Korea passed a bill that forces Apple and Google to allow developers to use alternative in-app payment platforms for the App Store and Google Play Store respectively. Since promoting its own in-app payment option for Fortnite users was the deed that resulted in the expulsion of the game and its developer, Epic Games, from the App Store, Epic has asked Apple to be reinstated. Should Apple comply with the request, Epic says that it would try to re-release the popular game in South Korea.
Epic Games asks Apple for reinstatement to the App Store so that it can re-release Fortnite in South Korea
If given the opportunity to re-release Fortnite in the South Korean App Store, Epic says that the game would include access to both first-party and third-party in-app payment systems which it is now able to do thanks to the new law. Apple takes a 30% cut of in-app payments made through the App Store's in-app payment platform. However, Apple's own regulations force developers to use and promote Apple's payment platform only although bills proposed in the Senate and the House could force a change.
Epic promoted its own payment platform inside Fortnite which violated Apple's App Store regulations
Earlier this month, Apple announced that starting early next year, it will allow certain apps to link to their developer websites to allow users to sign-up and manage their accounts. As an example, this will allow Netflix users to pay for the service outside of Apple's in-app platform keeping Apple from obtaining its 30% cut. The tech giant's actions were the result of a settlement Apple made regarding a class-action suit against it filed by iOS app developers, and it also could reduce the scrutiny from lawmakers who call the company's restrictions uncompetitive.
Apple says it won't reinstate Epic until the developer plays by the same rules as everyone else
The official Fortnite Twitter account (via AppleInsider) revealed Epic's plans last night and said, "Epic has asked Apple to restore our Fortnite developer account. Epic intends to re-release Fortnite on iOS in Korea offering both Epic payment and Apple payment side-by-side in compliance with the new Korean law." Apple responded hours later by saying that it will not restore Epic's account until the developer "agree(s) to play by the same rules as everyone else."
The complete statement reads, "As we've said all along, we would welcome Epic's return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else. Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there's no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account."
Epic also wants Apple to allow iPhone users to sideload apps from third-party app stores, something that Android users are allowed to do. Apple has cited security reasons for keeping the "walled garden" approach to its iOS app storefront which it has had in place ever since the App Store debuted in July 2008.
Developers of other high-profile apps have attacked Apple's 30% cut of in-app payments and its strict regulations. Some of these developers don't allow certain subscriptions to be processed using Apple's in-app payment system. For example, Spotify subscribers can not update to the premium tier of the music streamer through the app and instead must do this using the developer's website.
New Netflix subscribers, or those rejoining the service after a "leave of absence" cannot do so through the App Store thus allowing the developer to avoid paying Apple its 30% cut. While this is expected to change early in 2022 when Apple puts into place the recent settlement it agreed to with developers, some users are skeptical and believe that Apple will make it difficult for developers and/or users to escape the "Apple Tax."