Friday, July 5, 2024

Epic Games Store Blocked via Notarization

Ben Lovejoy (Slashdot):

Epic Games has accused Apple of deliberately delaying its attempt to launch its own iOS games store in Europe, and has filed a further antitrust complaint with the EU.

Epic Games:

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.

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.

[…]

Gatekeeper review of apps cannot possibly stand under the DMA when they misuse this power to delay competitors, dictate confusing or non-standard user interface designs to competitors, sherlock competitors by sharing pre-release app details with executives and internal teams competing with the app, and introduce potentially many-year delays to fair competition during appeals.

Tim Sweeney:

I can share that, at the top of the Epic Games Store screen that Apple rejected, is a big Epic Games Store logo displaying the text “Epic Games Store”.

Apple says users may confuse this screen with their App Store, whose screens don’t prominently identify itself through the App Store trademark or its logo as our store does.

Ernesto Monasterio:

While I might not agree with everything the EU is asking from Apple, the fact that they’re using notarization as a de facto review process burns all the goodwill I might have towards the folks at Cupertino.

Jeff Johnson:

Funny how Apple will follow the law in Russia and China but flout the law in the EU. Censorship? Fine, great! Sideloading? Hell no!

Previously:

14 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Jeff Johnson’s remark is one of those gotchas that sound cute until you realize how stupid they are. Is the EU going to arrest and torture Apple's employees if they don’t cooperate? Because both China and Russia will.

Douchebag.

Expecting those with the power to do so to take principled stands against authoritarian regimes in China and Russia is not being a douchebag. Watch the language and watch the mirror, stranger.

Old Unix Geek

China and Russia (are) going to arrest and torture Apple's employees if they don’t cooperate

Tell me you know nothing about either country in one sentence.

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with anything more, Total.

It’s adorable that you think Apple’s choice to enforce some governments rules and fight others has anything to do with anything other than their bottom line.

China isn’t threatening Apple’s employees with torture, ffs. They’re threatening Apple with not being allowed to sell their products to literally 1/8th of the human population.

Here’s a detailed dive into the purely financial motivation behind every single one of Apple’s decisions in China: https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/10/22826695/apple-china-mou-275-billion-tim-cook-icloud

Or when China issued a partial ban on iPhones for government employees and Apple’s shares tanked: https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2023/09/07/apple-shares-fall-after-reports-that-china-banned-iphone-use-by-government-employees.html

Apple is fighting the EU because it can afford drop the entire continent if the EU bans them. But complying with the rulings worldwide will cost them a fortune—especially in future revenue—and they know it.

Not sure about anyone else but I strongly support Jeff’s comment and appreciate him pointing out the discrepancy.

Number of Google employees that were arrested when Google didn't follow the Chinese law.... I think it's zero.

Daniël de Kok

> Apple is fighting the EU because it can afford drop the entire continent if the EU bans them.

They really can't. More than a quarter of their revenue comes from Europe, it's their largest market after the US. In contrast to China it's not a market where the state picks the winners, there is still room for ample growth in Europe. Marketshare of iPhones has increased in recent years in some of the highest-GDP countries.

I am pretty sure the board would fire the current leadership, if Apple pushed the EU so far that the EU would ban Apple.

I think the primary difference is that Apple thinks it has a strong negotiation position in the EU. This may have been true 5 or 10 years ago, but in prior attempts to improve competition, Apple, Facebook, Google and others have continuously shown the EU their middle fingers. So the EU made new laws that give them better tools to regulate these behemoths.

They should have listened better to other Apple pundits than Gruber. E.g. Arment and others have been saying for some years now (paraphrasing now) that Apple is playing with fire.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/382288/geographical-region-share-of-revenue-of-apple/#:~:text=As%20of%20the%20second%20quarter,the%20holiday%20seasons%20take%20place.

Daniel:

> They really can't. More than a quarter of their revenue comes from Europe, it's their largest market after the US.

I think you’re quite right. I didn’t realize how much Apple’s EU revenue was! I think the rest of your comment captures my point though which is that at some level Apple feels like they have some negotiation power over the EU, and will fight because the EU’s policies will affect their ability to make money. Whereas, China isn’t torturing employees, they’re just threatening Apple with the Chinese market share, and asking for more awful stuff but at the same time stuff that will have less of an impact on Apple’s bottom line.

> Is the EU going to arrest and torture Apple's employees if they don’t cooperate? Because both China and Russia will.

Apple has always had the option of not participating in markets where their employees being tortured is a possibility. Pointing out that they believe the profit from those markets is worth that cost does not make them look as good as you think it does.

Interesting how now we get to see Apple treating another megalithic corporation like they do any of their small time developers. That is, with intense hostility, derision, and arbitrary enforcement of invisible rules. The only difference is that Epic has the resources to actually do something about it like bring forward a lawsuit. Everyone else has to just sit there and take it.

Old Unix Geek

Update: Apple un-rejected it, but then told reporters that this "approval" is temporary and is demanding Epic changes the buttons in the next version. Epic says that would make their store less standard and harder to use, and they'll fight it.

>In contrast to China it's not a market where the state picks the winners

Oh ffs, the reason Apple is sliding backwards in China isn't because they've been put on some list by the CCP. It's because their phones aren't that great (compared to the slew of competitors in China) anymore, and if you also remove Apples switching costs from the equation (thanks to mega-apps like WeChat and AliPay) then it's obvious that people will move around.

Appe are still popular in China. I was in one of their stores in Beining three days ago and watched the line to try their VR helmet. 8 demo units in constant use and 4 units over on tables that were also in constant use. I think the latter were for people taking the plunge and doing final decisions on what over priced accessories to get with their overpriced vr helmet.

The main reason Apple is slipping in China is because there is a current renewed government push for nationalism and supporting Chinese brands, particularly Huawei in the phone space.

Old Unix Geek

@Plume: [Citation Needed]

Yes, they're promoting Huawei, but please provide evidence this is the cause Apple is slipping.

You can't watch Douyin for five minutes before somebody stomps on an iPhone and yells at the traitors who don't buy local brands. See also: Tesla market share dropping in China.

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