A US judge on Tuesday pointed out to the managing director of “Fortnite” creator Epic Games how the fundamental changes that the game manufacturer is supposed to force in the Apple Inc. App Store would affect the livelihoods of millions of developers who Create software for Apple devices. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is leading a three-week trial that began Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Epic has alleged that Apple has abused the power it has over the software developers seeking to reach its 1 billion iPhone users by charging commissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases and performing app store reviews which Epic claims they are holding back on Apple’s views as competitors. Tim Sweeney, chief executive of Epic Games, testified on Monday that “Apple has complete control over all software on iOS” and can deny access to apps at will.
Epic wants Gonzalez Rogers to instruct Apple to give users the ability to move third-party software to their iPhones and to simplify in-app payment rules. These changes would apply to all types of apps, not just games like Epic’s “Fortnite”. After Epic’s Sweeney was questioned further Tuesday by lawyers for Epic and Apple, the judge asked Sweeney if he was familiar with the economics of running other apps like grocery apps, dating apps, or instant messaging apps. Sweeney said he wasn’t.
“So you have no idea how what you’re asking would affect any of the developers who are into these other categories of apps. Is that right?” Gonzalez asked Rogers. “Personally, I don’t,” said Sweeney. At another point, Sweeney said that while purchasing in the Fortnite game outside of native applications, users experienced “friction”.
Gonzalez Rogers asked Sweeney if the company’s desire to be free of Apple’s in-app purchase requirements resulted in the “Fortnite” user base, which includes many younger users, having access to “what I call Parent would refer to impulse buying. “What you’re really asking for is the ability to make impulse purchases,” she told Sweeney through layers of plexiglass that separated the Witness Bank from the bank. “Yes,” replied Sweeny, “customer friendliness is a big factor here.”