Epic Games and Apple have been fighting this for years in one of the most important tech antitrust cases.

Angela Lang / CNET

Fourteen days Manufacturer Epic Games sees Apple as overly controlling, opportunistic and unfair. Apple says Epic doesn’t want to obey the rules. Together they could reshaping the way we see antitrust law in the age of big tech.

In the past few days, Epic and Apple have sharpened their arguments in a California courtroom and spoken out in favor Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers.

Epic’s lawyers and executives attacked Apple’s app store, pointing to fraud Apps, Stories of disgruntled developers complaining about Apple, playing favorites, and cases of Apple generally failing to keep its promises.

“The errors that were shown to me are due to customer and developer complaints,” Trystan Kosmynka, Apple’s senior director of marketing, said in court on Friday. Rather than seeing these messages as a sign that the App Store team is having trouble getting their job done, the activity shows that people trust the store and want to help keep it safe. “I’m glad you are passionate about emailing the concerns to our executives and that we are quickly investigating and improving them.”

Meanwhile, Apple attacked Epic on questions for Marketing Director Matthew Weissinger, trying to undercut his complaints. Apple isn’t helping market Fortnite Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo for their Xbox, PlayStation and Switch. “We create all kinds of engagement, hours of engagement within Fortnite,” Weissinger said on Monday. “And then Apple injects itself at the last minute and says, ‘We need 30% for that too.'”

The duel narratives were just the latest example of Epic and Apple using the court to file complaints while knocking on each other’s deals. It is unclear whether these efforts will work or not. The trial is a banking process, which means Judge Rodgers is the one who decides the case, not a jury.

Epics Hit Fortnite game was kicked from Apple’s App Store last August after Sweeney approved a change to the app. intentionally violate Apple’s rules against the use of alternative payment processing. According to Apple, payment processing and the strict rules for the App Store are important for the company to stand out from the rest Google competing and more widely used Android software that enables the “side-loading” of apps and alternative app stores.

Fortnite Press

Fortnite is one of the most popular games in the world.


The outcome of the lawsuit could change everything we know about how Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store work. Apple may be forced to ignore its app security concerns and allow alternative app stores and payment processing on its devices. Legal experts, lawmakers and regulators are also watching the case closely, viewing the case as a first look at how antitrust laws might apply to tech giants.

Judge Rodgers also took the opportunity last week to ask tough questions of their own on both sides of the courtroom as they advanced their arguments.

When describing Apple’s review process, Kosmynka added that the App Store team had told developers that 50% of the apps would be approved within 24 hours and 90% within 48 hours, depending on the app. So Rodgers asked if Apple had kept those promises. “Absolutely,” said Kosmynka, revealing that Apple currently approves 96% of apps within 24 hours.

She also denied Apple’s argument that limiting app distribution to the App Store was a worthwhile compromise. “One of the problems with restricting competition is you don’t get innovation, or at least that’s one of the problems,” Rodgers said. She also asked if Apple ever had an outside party independently checking what was in the App Store and paying bounties, similar to how it did Tech companies do for security researchers find the weak points in their products.

In the meantime, she pushed back on Epic’s attempts to draw Apple’s business model of making a profit on every iPhone rather than initially selling their product at a loss as console makers do. Epic argued that the model encourages hardware manufacturers to work with developers because royalties from these game sales help offset the cost on the console.

After Epic’s Weissinger testified that despite the provision of Fortnite ad space on the App Store homepage, Apple didn’t appear to be as heavily invested in Epic’s success as console manufacturers who sponsored in-person and in-game events as part of their marketing to have. The console manufacturers, she said, “advertised their product whenever you worked with them.” How was it different from Apple?

Weissinger said it depends on the kind of people Apple sent to Fortnite as well. Console gamers are there to play a video game. A lot more people may be looking on the App Store than for a Fortnite fix. “It’s not necessarily people making the purchase, it’s also like all sorts of random people having this experience. It could be someone looking for a fitness app or something,” he said. The App Store, he argued, “only caters to a less-qualified audience or a less-qualified consumer.”

Below are some of the things we learned during the legal process:

  • Opening volleys and the testimony of Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. When Katherine Forrest started her opening speech for Epic Games in his fight against Apple In a California court on May 3rd, she blew it up iPhone Manufacturers as monopolists, hold on App Makers hostage to his onerous license terms and commission structureGet up to 30% off subscriptions and other sales without specifically telling users. But when she asked a seemingly innocuous question to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney on Tuesday, she showed potential hypocrisy on her part as well.

    In summer 2020 Sweeney had sent emails to Apple executives Ask them to allow his company to offer their own Appstore for iPhones an alternative to the system that Apple has been using since 2008. Apple has only allowed app developers to offer programs for iPhone and iPhone iPad Users by submitting apps to their store for a review before going on sale or for free. Apple too requires all app developers to use their payment processing service when they want to sell subscriptions or in-app items, like a new look for a character or a power-up for their next turn.

    Sweeney seemed to be looking for a separate and special deal with Apple at the time, which did not match the company’s stormy lawsuit in which Forrest had claimed, “Epic is suing for change, not just for itself but for all developers.” ”

    “The market is not going to correct itself,” she added. That requires the intervention of violence, more powerful than even the largest corporation in the world has ever seen: our judicial system. “

    The next day, May 4th, she asked the quiet Sweeney if he’d accepted a side deal with Apple that would effectively receive special treatment while other app developers continued to lose. “Yes, I would,” he said.

  • Sweeney prefers an iPhone. When Apple’s attorney asked if part of the reason Sweeney preferred the device was Apple’s handling of customer data, privacy and security, he replied, “Right.” He had received Android devices but confirmed that he had given them away.
  • Not just Project xCloud. Microsoft has loudly complained about Apple’s app review process and its rules against game streaming services, such as the service formerly known as Project xCloud Xbox. Cross-examined with Nvidias Aashish Patel, a director of product management who helped oversee streaming service GeForce Now, said Apple’s attorney had also turned down a streaming app from Nvidia. In a steady stream, Apple’s attorney asked, “You are not a neutral observer in this dispute, are you?” “You want Epic to win this case, right?” “Maybe you’re upset that Apple rejected your app as a native app, and not happy about that?” Patel said he was disappointed.
  • Xbox is losing money – somehow. One of Epic’s arguments is that Apple’s business model is to profit from the iPhone when it is sold. Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation follow the razor and razor model where they sell the console at a loss (the razor) and then sell that Video games and accessories with profit (razor blades). While this is well known, a Microsoft representative confirmed during the test that it was the Xbox itself never made a profit.

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