Since the commencement of the Epic Games vs. Apple legal trial, emails shared between Apple executives and employees have been discovered and submitted by Epic as evidence to present its case. The latest piece of evidence reveals that the Vice President of the App Store has said that Apple features competitors’ apps “all the time”.
Matt Fischer was asked a variety of questions about his role in the App Store. Fischer serves as the Vice President of the App Store. He explained that Apple has put a focus on security in the App Store for a long time and has disproved suggestions like sideloading apps and alternative payment methods.
Apple exec says App Store features competitors’ apps “all the time”
An Apple employee wrote an email about a collection of apps on the App Store that were part of a VoiceOver collection. Apple’s Accessibility team was planning an App Store editorial feature on apps that implemented VoiceOver support. The team wanted to include Amazon and Google applications in the feature, but according to the discovered email, Fischer felt “extremely strongly” about not featuring competitor apps on App Store.
Just spoke with Tanya about featuring Google and Amazon apps in the VoiceOver collection and she asked us to exclude them from the lineup. Although they may be our best and the brightest apps, Matt feels extremely strong about not featuring our competitors on the App Store, so Yanta asked us to apply the same filters for this collection. I’m sorry I didn’t check this earlier.
Another email showed an internal question regarding why Hulu was able to switch between App Store billing and Hulu billing. It turns out that Hulu is part of whitelisted developers that have access to the subscription cancel/refund API. During his testimony, Fischer refused this notion unequivocally and explained repeatedly that Apple has always promoted apps that are competitors.
Whether this evidence will be enough for the judge to rule in Epic’s favor is not yet clear, however, many have claimed over the years that Apple favors its own apps over other apps. Fischer also explained the working relationship that was maintained between Epic Games and Apple before the removal of the game. Epic asked Apple to change the policy to allow in-app gifting and Apple complied. He further added that Apple “dropped everything we were doing and scrambled” to promote the Travis Scott concert in Fortnite saying that it was a “really cool concept”.
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