Home / Technology / Apple positions Phil Schiller to defend App Store in Fortnite case

Apple positions Phil Schiller to defend App Store in Fortnite case


Epic Games and Apple are battling what it calls one of the most significant tech antitrust lawsuits in years.

Angela Lang / CNET

Over the past two weeks Fortnite The makers of Epic Games and Apple are battling in court over how the iPhone App Store should be used.Epic argues that Apple acts like an overly controlled, opportunistic and unfair monopoly.Apple says Epic doesn’t want to follow the rules. They can be together Create the way we see antitrust. In the age of big technology

As part of the argument, Apple calls Phil Schiller, the current App Store curator, an Apple Fellow.Schiller has spent the last 30 years running the company’s global marketing efforts, such as: Part of his testimonySchiller said Apple has focused on privacy and security since the App Store’s inception.

Apple’s attorney cited a 2007 public letter from the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs, in which he argues that Apple values ​​privacy. “As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs become more and more dangerous,” he wrote at the time. “And because the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it’s a very visible target.”

Schiller said that now it’s even more.

He also spoke about Apple’s commission structure for the App Store, where he noted that the company never increased, but Reduced for 90% of developers.And he Protect Apple’s approach to game streaming services. From Xbox, Google, and Sony, unlike video streaming apps like Netflix, privacy and login policies typically differ between games, whether they are cataloged or not. “It’s not about the movies. But it’s an app and a game store, ”he said.“ I think there’s a difference there. ”

It was Apple’s highest defense so far from one of its most eminent executives in the past two weeks, during which Epic and Apple took the court to complain and knock each other’s businesses down while promoting. Own What is unclear is whether these efforts will work or not. This is a court proceeding, meaning the judge will decide the case, not the jury.

Epic Hit the game Fortnite It was kicked out of Apple’s App Store in August last year after Epic CEO Tim Sweeney approved the app change. Deliberately violating Apple’s rules Against the use of alternative payment processing, Apple says payment processing and stringent App Store regulations are important to the company, helping it stand out from the competition and use it widely. Google’s ubiquity, which allows the app “Side load” and other alternative app stores.

Fortnite press

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


The lawsuit’s outcome could change everything we know about Apple’s App Store functionality, including Google’s Play Store.Apple could be forced to ignore concerns about app security by allowing app stores. Get options and process the payment into the device. Legal experts, lawmakers and regulators are also watching closely, looking at how the case is the first to be able to apply antitrust laws against tech giants.

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has also spent the past few weeks asking her own tough questions from both sides in the courtroom as they argue.

Below are some of the things we learned during the court hearing:

Open testimony of salvos and Sweeney. When Katherine Forrest began a press release announcing Epic Games in her fight against Apple in a California courtroom on May 3, she blasted the iPhone maker as a monopoly by arresting the app maker. Hostage Difficult licensing terms and commission structureGet up to 30% off your subscriptions and other sales without having to tell the user clearly. But when she asked a seemingly innocuous question about Sweeney on May 4, she revealed the sly potential as well.

During the summer of 2020 Sweeney sent an email to an Apple executive. Ask them to allow their company to offer their own app store for iPhones, a cost-effective alternative to the systems Apple has been using since 2008.Apple only allows app developers to offer programs to iPhone users and iPad by sending the app to the store they are under. Check before offering or free. Apple too. Requires all app developers to use a payment processing service. If they want to sell subscriptions or in-app items such as new looks for characters or power-ups for the next turn.

At the time, Sweeney appeared to be seeking an exclusive deal with Apple, something out of line with the company’s guilty lawsuit that Forrest claimed, “Epic is suing for a change, not just for itself. But for all developers too ”

“The market is not right in itself,” she added. It requires intervention of forces that are more powerful than the largest companies in the world have ever seen: our justice system. ”

The next day, on May 4, she asked Sweeney, who spoke softly, whether he accepted a side deal with Apple, and was effectively treated while other app developers continued at a loss. Yes, I will, ”he said.

Sweeney likes the iPhone.When an Apple attorney asked if part of the reason Sweeney liked the device was Apple’s treatment of customer data, privacy and security, he replied “correct”. give

Epic states that app scams undermine the App Store.One way Epic’s lawyers and executives attacked Apple’s App Store is to highlight fraudulent apps, stories from disgruntled developers complaining that Apple plays favorites and instances that Apple generally doesn’t deliver on its promises.

While Epic sees it as a symptom of Apple’s problem, the iPhone maker has tried to frame it to its strengths.

“The mistakes I made were caused by customer and developer complaints,” Apple Senior Marketing Director Trystan Kosmynka said in court on May 7 instead of seeing these messages as a signal that the App Store team is working. Struggling to do The role, he said, shows that people trust stores and want to help keep them safe. “I’m glad they were enthusiastic and emailed our management to report concerns and we will investigate them quickly and improve them,” he said.

There are some notable concerns Epic raised, including Fortnite’s cat-copying app.

Judge Rogers also took the opportunity to ask Apple’s tough questions when Kosmynka explained Apple’s review process.He added that the App Store team told developers that it would approve 50% of apps in 24 hours and 90% within 48 hours, depending. With app Rogers then asked if Apple fulfilled those contracts. “Absolutely,” Kosmynka said, adding that Apple currently approves 96 percent of apps within 24 hours.

She also challenges Apple’s argument that limiting app distribution to the App Store is a worthwhile trade. “One of the problems with limiting competition is that you don’t get innovation, or at least it’s one problem,” Rogers said. She also asked how Apple has third parties independently verifying what’s in the App Store and paying the winnings similar to a method. Tech companies do it for security researchers. Who found vulnerabilities in their products

Epic said Apple was not investing in the success of its partners. During the testimony, Epic Marketing Director Matthew Weissinger said Apple isn’t helping to market Fortnite as much as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo do for Xbox, PlayStation and Switch. The engagement within Fortnite “Weissinger testified on May 10” and then at the last minute Apple injected itself and said, ‘We need 30% on this as well.’ ‘

Epic executives said they ignore similar commissions paid to Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo in their stores, as their devices often sell at a loss, which makes a difference to video game licenses. (This is often called the business model “Razor Blade”, where razors are sold without doing anything, while selling the blades makes the company profitable.) At the same time, Apple makes a profit from every iPhone it sells.

Epic’s controversial video game industry profit model motivates hardware manufacturers to collaborate with developers, as royalties from the sale of those games help offset costs on consoles. Has sponsored built-in and in-game events as part of their marketing. That’s something Apple doesn’t really do.

But Judge Rogers was skeptical. She said console manufacturers. “I’m promoting their products every time you work with them.” How is it different from Apple?

Weissinger said the type of people Apple joins Fortnite with, console gamers, can play video games. The App Store has plenty of people who might be looking for more than a Fortnite fix. But like any random person going through that experience, it could be someone looking for a fitness app or something like that, ”he said. Only less appropriate. “

It’s not just Project xCloud. Microsoft complained about Apple’s app review process and regulations on its former game streaming service, Project xCloud Xbox, in an investigation with Nvidia’s Aashish Patel, the director of product management who helped oversee the GeForce Now streaming service. Apple’s lawyer said that the streaming app from Nvidia was also rejected. Apple attorneys asked, “Are you not a neutral observer in this dispute?” “Would you like Epic to win the case?” It’s not happy that Apple is rejecting your app as a native app and you’re not happy with that, ”said Patel, disappointed.

Xbox lose money – please. One of Epic’s arguments, Apple’s business model, is that it makes a profit from selling iPhones, Microsoft’s Xbox, and Sony’s PlayStation follows the razor-blade and razor-blade scheme, where they sell the consoles at a loss (razor) from that. Sell ​​video games and accessories at a profit (razor blades), although this was known, a Microsoft representative confirmed during the trial that the Xbox itself. Never made a profit.

Apple throws in many events. We all know that Apple’s work is fluid and has a strong choreography. But now we are learning that they also have a set price. Schiller told court on May 17 that Apple spends about $ 50 million each year at its Worldwide Developers Conference, known as WWDC, depending on how you see the return on investment there. Said it had an estimated 25 million visitors before it was widely released to the public and Free in the midst of the coronavirus outbreakNow About 50 millionAnd, he added, aside from ticket sales and the $ 99 annual developer fee, Apple doesn’t charge WWDC.

Apple has spent a lot of money on research and development. As part of his testimony on May 17, Schiller revealed that Apple is building a facility on the Apple Park ‘spaceship’ campus exclusively for developers. He didn’t say much about it. But the details are part of a bigger issue he testifies about the amount Apple spends on research and development on its software, hardware and developer ecosystem, effectively citing the 30% commission it charges. From in-app purchase He also noted that Apple has spent $ 100 billion exclusively on research and development over the past 15 years, including retina displays, built-in A-series and M-series chips, and software. That gives them strength

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