In frankly hilarious corporate emails, Apple gets mad about being called "hot garbage" and terminates Epic's dev account right as Fortnite charts a return to iOS

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Update, March 8: Epic has updated its news post, saying that "Apple has told us and committed to the European Commission that they will reinstate our developer account." Plans to bring the Epic Games Store and Fortnite to iOS and Europe are, thus, back on track.

Original story, March 6: Apple has terminated Epic's iOS developer account, putting a big roadblock in front of the studio's plan to bring Fortnite back to iPhones and iPads in Europe. Epic has published some, er, highlights from its correspondence with Apple on the subject, and they're some of the most hilariously spiteful bits of corporate messaging you will ever see.

This month, newly implemented EU regulations are set to loosen the restrictions that platform holders - like Apple - can enforce on what software users install to their devices. Fortnite disappeared from iOS years ago because of Epic's dispute with Apple over just this sort of thing, and last month, Epic announced that it plans to bring Fortnite back to Apple devices alongside the release of a separate Epic Games Store app on the platform.

Now, Epic says Apple has terminated the Swedish developer account it would've used to make that happen. "We intended to use that account to bring the Epic Games Store and Fortnite to iOS devices in Europe thanks to the Digital Markets Act (DMA)," Epic says in a news post. "To our surprise, Apple has terminated that account and now we cannot develop the Epic Games Store for iOS."

The notion that Epic and Apple can't really get along shouldn't be surprising if you've seen, well, any of the drama leading up to this, including Epic boss Tim Sweeney's lengthy tweet calling out Apple back in January. It seems that tweet is part of why Apple deleted Epic's account, even.

"You have described our DMA compliance plan as 'hot garbage,' a 'horror show,' and a 'devious new instance of malicious compliance,'" Apple executive Phil Schiller said in an email to Sweeney, which Epic has published as part of today's announcement. "And you have complained about what you call 'junk fees' and 'Apple taxes.' Your colorful criticism of our DMA compliance plan, coupled with Epic's past practice of intentionally violating contractual provisions with which it disagrees, strongly suggest that Epic Sweden does not intend to follow the rules."

Schiller goes on to tell Sweeney that "you have stated that allowing enrollment of Epic Games Sweden in the developer program is a 'good faith move by Apple.' We invite you to provide us with written assurance that you are also acting in good faith, and that Epic Games Sweden will, despite your public actions and rhetoric, honor all of its commitments. In plain, unqualified terms, please tell us why we should trust Epic this time." 

The email is signed, simply, "thanks."

Sweeney responded with a similarly very funny "thanks for reaching out," saying that "Epic and its subsidiaries are acting in good faith and will comply with all terms of current and future agreements with Apple, and we'll be glad to provide Apple with any specific further assurances on the topic that you'd like." 

That email ended with a "best regards."

I've been struggling to care who wins or loses in this whole corporate slap fight for years, since the end result is ultimately going to be a change in a few percentage points of Fortnite profits going to one multi-billion dollar corporation or another. But hey, I'm still having a lot of fun as long as Epic continues putting this dirty laundry out in the public eye.

If any of this somehow has you interested in the battle royale, we've got a guide on how to play Fortnite for absolute beginners. 

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.