Yesterday took place the most anticipated part of the trial between Apple and Epic Games which defeats the future of the App Store as we know it: Tim Cook’s appearance in court. And given the harshness of Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers’ responses, things didn’t go very well for Cook.
“You don’t charge the banks but you charge the players”
Apple judge and CEO organized a debate marked by their differences, in which each responded with very different arguments. For Gonzalez-Rogers, it doesn’t make sense for Apple to say that it wants to give users control while not allowing those users to opt for cheaper options when paying for content.
Cook’s response to this is that users are still free to choose between an iPhone or an Android, and when he talks about ceding control to users he is referring to control of their own data. However, The judge continued to insist she saw no problem with Apple offering other payment options
The judge wanted to make Tim Cook understand that for her, Apple does not allow competition in in-app purchases
“You don’t charge banks, do you? but you charge the players and with this money you pay the systems that cover the banks“, replied the judge, who also specified that his way of seeing things is an apple that takes advantage of third-party developers who retain gamers. Cook emphasized the value that the App Store brings in the form of users to free apps, which creates the large audiences of the App Store and therefore its trade volumes.
The rifirrafe continued without reaching a good port, with Gonzalez-Rogers arguing that Apple does not allow competition in in-app purchases of its apps and with Tim Cook responding that there is, thanks to the rest of the platforms present and the freedom of the developers to advertise and deliver them in other ways. An interesting fact that he revealed is that the profit margin he gets from these transactions is between 35% and 40%.
The judge even suggested that the reduction in the App Store commission was not due to the pandemic, but for fear of legal reprisals
Finally, after using a survey which supposedly reveals that 39% of users are dissatisfied with the App Store, the judge said that it does not appear that Apple has it.neither competitors nor incentives to be able to work and satisfy“to these developers.
I’m no expert on US court proceedings, but something tells me things are going pretty badly for Apple. The current App Store business model isn’t exactly a small chunk of its finances, and a victory for Epic Games would result in changes that would alter that business model forever. This Monday we will see the final statements of both parties, then the jury will step down to deliberate on a sentence they have already warned that it will take time to arrive.