May 8, 2021

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Apple’s Antitrust Case: Apple vs Epic Games: Judge Presses Epic CEO on Day Two of Antitrust Trial

On Tuesday, a US judge pressured the CEO of Fortnite, the CEO of Epic Games, over how the fundamental changes the game maker is requesting to force the Apple App Store to affect the livelihoods of the millions of developers who make software for Apple devices.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is presiding over a three-week trial that began Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

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Epic has alleged that Apple has abused the power it has on developers who want to reach 1 billion iPhone users by charging commissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases and conducting App Store reviews that Epic claims hamper Apple’s views of the companies. As competitors.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney testified on Monday that “Apple exercises complete control over all software on iOS” and can deny access to apps whenever it wants.

Epic is asking Gonzalez Rogers to ask Apple to allow users to place third-party software on their iPhones and to facilitate in-app payment rules. These changes will apply to all kinds of apps, not just games like Epic’s “Fortnite”.

After Epic’s Sweeney was questioned by attorneys for both Epic and Apple on Tuesday, Judge Sweeney asked if he was aware of the economics of running other apps, such as food apps, dating apps, or instant messaging apps. Sweeney said it was not.

“So you have no idea how your request will affect any of the developers who participate in those other categories of apps, is that correct?” Gonzales asked Rogers.

Sweeney said, “Personally, I don’t.”

At another point, Sweeney said users have encountered “friction” in Fortnite purchases outside of native apps.

Gonzalez asked Rogers Sweeney whether the company’s desire to break free from Apple’s in-app purchase requirements meant that it wanted its “Fortnite” user base, which includes many younger users, to reach “what I would call, as a parent, impulse buying.” .

“What you really ask for is the ability to make impulse purchases,” she told Sweeney, through layers of plexiglass separating the witness booth from the seat.

Sweeney replied, “Yes, customer comfort is a big factor in this.”