Two experts in the Epic Games versus Apple Trial on Tuesday argued that Apple Appstore Anti-steering regulations make it difficult for iPhone owners to know that they can use some apps on other devices.
The economist David Evans making an argument as to why Apple has an unfair monopoly iOS App distribution, especially with regard to measures that prevent developers from promoting in the App Store outside of platforms and websites.
Taking the example of V-Bucks, Fortnite’s game currency, Evans said it was “theoretically possible” for “Fortnite” players to purchase V-Bucks through a web browser instead of the iOS app. However, Apple prevents developers from promoting mechanisms outside of the platform.
“The problem here is a combination of the two that requires Epic to be used [in-app purchases] in the iOS Fortnite app combined with a number of obstacles that make it very difficult for Epic to communicate with the iOS app user, “Evans said.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers then asked whether removing these provisions against the steering could alleviate the problem.
In response, Evans said that this solution would work “for now” as it would diminish, but not eliminate, Apple’s alleged market power. He added that the solution would not be possible for apps without a website or web version, or for consumers without easy access to a computer.
Apple’s attorney suggested that Epic Games could buy ads that let players know they can buy V-Bucks outside of the App Store. The implication is that platform owners “should not be asked, for the sake of competitive activity, to promote the promotions available to the consumer”.
Epic’s other witness on Tuesday, Stanford economics professor Susan Athey, also mentioned anti-steering regulations in her testimony.
Consumers, Athey said, “can’t tell by looking at their app on their app.” iPhone At another point, she also pointed out that subscriptions made through the Apple platform get stuck in the Apple ecosystem. One solution, according to Athey, is “middleware” or systems such as alternative payment platforms in iOS or cross-platform app stores.
Apple’s lawyers disagreed with these arguments. In Athey’s case, they pointed out that they hadn’t analyzed how much money users would spend buying back apps or subscriptions. Athey agreed. Apple also struggled with Athey’s ties to Microsoft, as well as the fact that it did not have access to important business documents related to the App Store before making statements against the storefront.
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