Bloomberg reports that Apple’s longtime in charge of App Store developer relations, Ron Okamoto has retired after serving for 20 years. Although the company did not publically disclose Okamoto’s retirement, court filings in the Epic vs. Apple case listed him as a former employee.
Cupertino tech giant’s digital market place is under heavy scrutiny since 2020. After Spotify’s complaint in the EU commission against the App Store’s 30% commission rate, Epic Games has tangled Apple in a string of lawsuits in the United States, the UK, Australia and the EU over the same issue. Therefore, the testimony of the long-term executive of the digital marketplace is important for the case.
Ron Okamoto reiters from his position as Apple’s App Store developer relations in charge
As per the report, the position is taken over by a “key marketing executive”. Having said that, Epic Games required the court to order Okamoto’s deposition due to his role in devising and implementing App Store’s policies.
Okamoto’s status as a former employee was disclosed Friday in a witness list provided by Apple to the court for its upcoming trial versus Fortnite developer Epic Games Inc. The witness list said a deposition by Okamoto may be used in the trial and that he can testify about the App Store’s policies, business model, developer tools, and agreements between Apple and third-party developers.
The report describes Okamoto’s role as,
Ron Okamoto was hired by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 2001 as vice president of developer relations after previously serving as an executive at Adobe Inc. At Apple, Okamoto helped oversee the app-review process and policies, distribution of tools to build and sell apps, forums and technical developer support, the annual WWDC conference, awards for developers, and developer communications.
Okamoto is not the only former employee Epic Games wants to include in the upcoming trial in the United States. Previously, the developer has reportedly filed for the testimony of former SVP of iOS Scott Forstall who left the company in 2013, after the unimpressive launch of Apple Maps. In addition, Epic Games has also been granted deposition of Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, software chief Craig Federighi, and other high-profile executives.
Since the blowout with developers over App Store’s commission rate, especially during COVID-19 pandemic, Apple has introduced a new 15% commission rate program for developers earning equal to or less than a million dollars annually to improve its image and work as damage control. As per reports, the new in-app purchases structure benefits approximately covers 98% of developers.