Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,964
19,799


Apple CEO Tim Cook testified in the Epic Games v. Apple trial today, and some of the final questioning by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers did not appear to go in Apple's favor.

app-store-blue-banner.jpg

She spent several minutes grilling Cook on Apple's App Store policies and some of the statements that he made. "You said you want to give users control, so what's the problem with allowing users to have a cheaper option for content?"

Cook clarified that by control, he meant control over data, and he told the judge that customers can choose between Android phones and the iPhone.

Rogers was not satisfied with that answer, and asked again what the issue is with Apple allowing customers to buy cheaper V-Bucks (Fortnite's in-game currency) either in-app or by linking out to a website.

"If we allowed developers to link out like that, we would give up our monetization," said Cook. "We need a return on our IP. We have 150,000 APIs to create and maintain, numerous developer tools, and processing fees."

Judge Rogers said that Apple could monetize in other ways, pointing out that games make up most of the in-app purchases. "It's almost as if they're subsidizing everyone else," she said. Rogers used the example of banking apps on the App Store. "You don't charge Wells Fargo, right? But you're charging gamers to subsidize Wells Fargo."

Games are transacting on the platform, said Cook in explanation. He also explained that having a large number of apps available for free increases the traffic to the App Store, creating a much larger audience for gaming apps than would be available if there weren't free apps available.

Judge Rogers said that taking a cut of in-app purchases for games while not charging other apps is a "choice." "There are clearly other options," said Cook. "We think overall, this is the best one." Rogers said that she understands that Apple brings users to the games, but after the initial interaction, game developers are keeping their customers. "Apple's just profiting off of that it seems to me," she said."

"I view it differently. We're creating the entire amount of commerce on the store and we do that by getting the largest audience there. We do that with a lot of free apps, those bring a lot to the table," Cook argued.

"You have no in-app competition on in-app purchases," said Rogers. Cook explained that people can purchase games on other platforms, something that's up to the developer to explain.

Judge Rogers said that she did not believe that Apple lowered its App Store fees for developers making under $1 million because of COVID, instead suggesting that Apple's motivation was the litigation that it is facing. "It was because of COVID," said Cook. "Of course, I had the lawsuit in the back of my mind." Google changed its practices due to competition, argued the judge, referencing Google's decision to also cut Play Store pricing. "You didn't change because of competition," she added.

Rogers then asked Cook about a survey that found 39 percent of developers are dissatisfied with the App Store, which led to some of the most damning questioning of the trial. Cook said he wasn't aware of the survey, but the fact that 40k apps are rejected per week leads to some friction because sometimes developers and users don't have incentives that align with one another.

"It doesn't seem to me like you have competition or feel much incentive to work for developers," Rogers told Cook. She said she hadn't seen evidence that Apple conducts surveys regarding developer satisfaction or makes changes for developers. Apple and Epic will give closing statements on Monday, May 24, which will mark the conclusion of the trial.

Article Link: Judge Grills Tim Cook on App Store Policies as End of of Epic Games v. Apple Trial Approaches
 
Last edited:

ruka.snow

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2017
1,846
4,920
Scotland
"It doesn't seem to me like you have competition or feel much incentive to work for developers," Rogers told Cook. She said she hadn't seen evidence that Apple conducts surveys regarding developer satisfaction or makes changes for developers.

Why on earth would Apple conduct surveys on developer satisfaction, I can't imagine anything more tacky than a company sending out a survey.
 

Freida

macrumors 68040
Oct 22, 2010
3,611
5,022
Because Apple has a culture of feedback. There is nothing wrong to ask for feedback and learn from it. Its not always useful but at least you might discover things that perhaps didn't cross your mind.


Why on earth would Apple conduct surveys on developer satisfaction, I can't imagine anything more tacky than a company sending out a survey.
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 601
Nov 8, 2008
4,591
2,756
Florida, U.S.A.
Or the judge doesn't understand the way the business operates. Every piece of income contributes to the whole operation. There are lots of services Apple doesn't make money on. For example, the thousands of free apps that monetize on Ad Revenue. Those take a lot of resources to maintain: Testing, approval, storage, delivery, bandwidth, etc...
And next you have the Operating System; It's free to upgrade while supported by your device.
Then the Development tools: Free.
And I could just keep going with the list...
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 601
Nov 8, 2008
4,591
2,756
Florida, U.S.A.
Apple should say that they will just disable the App Store if they cannot “make a profit.”

THIS IS CAPITALISM! Apple is not doing charity work for poor developers. Apple PROVIDED A WAY TO MAKE MONEY! They CHOSE to make an app.
Yeah, the whole argument is pointless... If there was no App Store, where would Epic and the other Whiners be at this time?
 

Trenches

Suspended
Mar 31, 2021
107
181
The judge needs to dig into the meat of the arguments, and her point about no in-app purchase competition is valid. Apple is running within the parameters of a monopolistic market at best (either App Store or Google Play) and a monopoly when it comes to iOS/iPadOS apps they did not create.

Most arguments on the forums I see are just people who are OK with Apple’s monopoly. No one said monopolies were automatically bad in all ways. They can provide higher consistency, quality, and customer satisfaction than the open market. But they exert domineering control over choice, market entrance, and customer relationships.

As for Tim’s point: why is Apple’s return on its IP any more important than a developer’s return in its IP? At some point, the outlet of purchase has to shut up and go away. Walmart shouldn’t get a cut of every slice of bread I buy for the toaster I bought there.

This isn’t black and white; it is serving Apple to mislead us into thinking it is. They can spin off the App Store, remove in-app purchase restrictions (or make their in-app offering more competitive to where developers will use it out of desire rather than force), and they can provide the same security benefits to iOS without being anticompetitive. You heard it in plainspeak straight from the source; in-app purchase restrictions are about Apple’s money only, competition be damned.
 
Last edited:

ouimetnick

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2008
3,552
6,324
Beverly, Massachusetts
What a lousy biased judge. Apple provides a lot for it’s developers. Sometimes I think they fall short but they’ve corrected themselves (see Apple silicon DTK return credit) Apple holds WWDC, has plenty of resources, introduces new and useful APIs every year for developers to build new functionality into their apps, etc.

I love how people want a free and open market, and then want to regulate apple to their advantage. I thought the idea behind a free market is to let Apple do what Apple feels is best. If customers don’t like it, go to Android or build your own.

I’m not defending Apple here, there was a lot of damning information against them. It’s clear that they do not treat all developers equally, but I disagree with what Epic is trying to accomplish. Whether apple should allow side loading of apps is another story, but in the current situation of how things were/are being handled, I do not like Epic’s goals or values.
 

Realityck

macrumors 601
Nov 9, 2015
4,417
6,074
Silicon Valley, CA
The Judge seems to be one sided. Doesn't sound good for Apple
You have to remember this judge has previous overseen multiple cases involving Apple. So consider her a very experience no nonsense judge. She will hammer either side to get to the facts for a proper decision.
from wiki
On May 4, 2011, President Obama nominated Rogers to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California that had been vacated by Judge Vaughn Walker, who had retired at the end of 2010. The Senate confirmed her in an 89–6 vote on November 15, 2011.She received her commission on November 21, 2011. She is the first Latina to serve as a federal judge in the Northern District of California.

Rogers has adjudicated various cases against Apple. In 2012, Rogers dismissed a class action lawsuit with prejudice, upholding Apple's defense that the "Illinois Brick doctrine" from the Supreme Court case Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, 431 U.S. 720 (1977) applied, as only the developers of apps could be damaged by Apple's policies, and consumers did not have statutory standing to bring suit on the developers' behalf. The Court specifically noted that the 30% fee Apple collects is "a cost passed-on to consumers by independent software developers". The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed her decision, and the Court of Appeals was upheld by the Supreme Court in Apple Inc. v. Pepper.

In December 2014, Rogers presided over a jury trial against Apple, in which plaintiffs claimed DRM on Apple iTunes violated antitrust laws. On December 16, 2014, the jury reached a verdict in favor of Apple.

Rogers is currently the presiding judge in the case of Epic Games v. Apple. On August 24, 2020, Rogers issued an order granting a temporary restraining order for Epic's Unreal Engine, finding that the termination of Epic's developer account could result in the inability to "save all the projects by third-party developers relying on the engine that were shelved while support was unavailable." However, Rogers refused to grant a temporary restraining order with respect to Epic's apps, including Fortnite, citing that Epic's current predicament "appears of its own making."
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.