Apple has prevented Fortnite maker Epic Games from releasing its game and app store in the European Union, escalating a years-long feud between the two tech giants. In a statement released on Wednesday, Epic published what it says was a letter from Apple, terminating its access to develop apps for iPhones and iPads.

“Please be advised that Apple has, effective immediately, terminated the Developer Program membership of Epic Games Sweden AB,” Apple appeared to say in a March 2 letter from its lawyers posted by Epic. 

Apple described Epic’s plans to release software for EU customers as “part of a global effort to undermine or evade Apple’s rules.” Apple didn’t comment on whether the correspondence shared by Epic Games was authentic.

Apple said its decision to terminate Epic’s developer account applied worldwide. 

“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,'” the company said in a statement. “In light of Epic’s past and ongoing behavior, Apple chose to exercise that right.”

Epic alleges Apple’s moves are a violation of EU antitrust laws and said it intends to “fight to get back on iOS.”

The move comes as Apple is releasing a new version of its iOS software for iPhones, designed to follow rules called the Digital Markets Act. That law, which is designed to force Big Tech companies to allow more competition, requires Apple to allow customers in the EU to install alternative app stores and separately downloaded apps onto their devices.

Epic-Apple feud

Apple’s decision to terminate Epic’s developer account marks another twist in a now-four-year-long, high-profile court battle between the two tech giants over how much power Apple exerts over its iPhones, iPads and Mac computers

Epic had argued that Apple should allow customers to download apps and pay developers however they wish. Since launching its App Store more than 15 years ago, Apple has required that apps for its iPhones be downloaded from there. Apple also set rules that most developers must charge customers through its payment-processing service, which collects up to a 30% fee on every charge. Epic is fighting a similar suit against Google over its handling of the Play Store.

Apple broadly has won that argument in court, where judges have declared the iPhone maker hasn’t violated antitrust laws by forcing app developers to use its in-app payment systems.

Epic has vowed to continue fighting. 

On Wednesday, Epic said Apple’s move to terminate its developer account undermined “our ability to be a viable competitor and they are showing other developers what happens when you try to compete with Apple or are critical of their unfair practices.”

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