On the second day of the Epic vs. Apple antitrust case, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s testimony and Apple lawyers’ cross-examination focused on App Store’s 30% commission rate. Although Sweeney wanted to prove that Apple was charging a high share cut for all in-app purchases, he ended up admitting that 30% is the standard industry rate. And more importantly, Sweeney admitted that if Apple had only given him a preferential deal, he would have accepted it.
When Epic filed the lawsuit against Apple, it claimed to be standing up for all the developers against the unfair App Store policies and rules. The company wrote that “Apple and Google’s rules add a 30% tax on all of your purchases, and they punish game developers like us who offer direct payment options. We are committed to securing lasting freedoms for all. This is why we fight.” But, it seems like Epic was only creating pressure to get a special offer for itself.
Epic testimony on App Store ironically favors Apple
After explaining Epic Games’ business model and relationship with Microsoft and Sony and other platforms, Sweeney cracked under Apple lawyers’ cross-examination. Primarily focusing on highlighting the benefits of Apple technology for the developer, the company lawyers spoke of Epic’s use of Metal graphics API on iOS and quoted all the incidents where Epic praised Metal on iOS.
Furthermore, when asked about industry standard commission rate, Sweeney said that “30% is the most prevalent rate charged by app store of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. And going against his own stand, Sweeney admitted to looking for a special deal for himself.
Epic lawyer: If Apple had told you it would offer you a deal and no other developers, would you have accepted that?
Tim Sweeney: Yes, I would have.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers also questioned Mr.Sweeney on the reasons for selling V-Bucks on the Fortnite iOS app. Although Epic’s lawyer explained that buying V-Bucks from the web was inconvenient, she focused on the impact of purchasing in-app currency on young players.
“Isn’t that a reasonable way to deal with a young client base? Why should we want them to have the ability to impulse buy something?” Rogers asked. “What you’re really asking for is the ability to have impulse purchases.”
In response Sweeney said that Epic focuses on customer convenience.
When asked what will Sweeney do, if Epic lost the case, Sweeney said that “If Apple cut us off, we would have to live with not supporting the iOS platform.”
In addition, Sweeney also admitted that he uses an iPhone for its privacy and security features. And an old email from 2015, revealed that Apple CEO Tim Cook did not know who Tim Sweeney was.
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