Fortnite producer, Epic Games, publicly criticized Apple on Friday, following the rejection of its latest proposition for an alternative iOS App Store by the smartphone manufacturer. The firm stated on X that this rejection was triggered after Apple argued that the design of Epic’s app marketplace closely mirrored its own.

This ruling follows Epic’s endeavor to present an iOS version of the Epic Games Store last week, a move that would enable iPhone and iPad users to obtain games on their devices without visiting the Apple App Store.

On Friday, Epic stated in a release on X that Apple’s refusal was capricious, obstructive, and in breach of the DMA (Digital Markets Act), adding that its concerns had been communicated to the European Commission. Elka Looks, spokesperson for Epic, informed WIRED that Apple had rejected Epic’s Game Store notarization submission—where apps are submitted for evaluation by the firm—twice in the previous week.

The case is part of a broader dispute over who has authority over the applications accessible to hundreds of millions of individuals. In a setback for the U giant, Apple has been mandated by the Digital Markets Act, new EU regulations, to permit substitutes to its branded app marketplace on European iPhones and iPads since March.

Apple’s Application marketplace

Courtesy of Apple

Epic’s proposed alternative app store submission

Courtesy of Epic

“Apple has turned down our Epic Games Store notarization submission two times now, alleging that the appearance and location of Epic’s ‘Install’ button resembles Apple’s ‘Get’ button too much and that our ‘In-app purchases’ tag strongly resembles the App Store’s ‘In-App Purchases’ tag,” the corporation stated.

Epic clarified that their nomenclature mirrored Apple’s because they aimed to establish a store that mobile users could effortlessly comprehend. Apple did not respond to WIRED’s request for remarks.

There are over 100 million people utilizing Apple’s App Store in the EU. The introduction of the Epic Games Store would, for the first time, present these users with a choice of where to download applications.

This moment is eagerly anticipated by legislators who argue that the technology behemoths are stifling competition by impeding rivals’ access to their clients. “The establishment of an alternative app marketplace within the Apple system would serve as tangible evidence that the DMA can foster competition and, thus, reduce prices for consumers,” Andreas Schwab, a European Parliament member who helped negotiate the DMA, told WIRED.

Epic and Apple have been adversaries for a long time. In 2020, Epic lodged a lawsuit against Apple in California, alleging that the corporation’s dominance in the iOS market was “unreasonable and illegal.” Apple emerged largely victorious from the US case. Nevertheless, in Europe, Epic has joined a vocal cluster of developers incensed about the influence they believe Apple’s App Store wields over their enterprises and the fees the corporation levies on in-app transactions.

“Apple is holding app providers hostage like the Mafia,” Matthias Pfau, CEO and cofounder of Tuta, an encrypted email service, informed WIRED earlier this year. Epic’s proposition for an alternative app store represents a pilot case for the potential emergence of other alternative app stores that could reshape the dynamic between Apple and developers.

The Epic Games Store is presently accessible on PC, Mac, and Android but not on Google Play. Nevertheless, the company intends to persist in pursuing authorization for its iOS version, stating: “Except for any further obstacles from Apple, we are prepared to debut the Epic Games Store… on iOS in the EU in the coming months.”