Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial.

fortnite apple logo 2
Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being discussed was shared by Epic and Apple ahead of the trial. When speaking to expert witnesses, however, Gonzalez Rogers hinted that she might aim for a compromise between Epic and Apple to solve the dispute.

As outlined by Bloomberg, there was a discussion about Apple's rules that prevent app developers from directing users to make purchases outside of the App Store, such as through the web, as an alternative to in-app purchases.

Speaking to Epic expert witness Dr. David Evans, an economist specializing in antitrust, Gonzalez Rogers asked him if whether removing this rule would solve the problems that Epic and other developers have with ‌App Store‌ rules. "If Apple didn't have these rules, would the problem be solved?" she asked.

Evans said that while it "wouldn't eliminate the market power that Apple has," it would "certainly diminish it." Though for apps and games without alternative payment systems, he said it "would not be much of a solution."

Apple has long prevented apps from directing users to outside purchase options. The Netflix app, for example, does not use in-app purchases but is not able to direct users to sign up for a subscription through the iPhone or iPad apps, instead using vague language to inform users that it's just not possible to sign up in the app.

netflix sign up
Fortnite, the game at the heart of the dispute between Apple and Epic, does support purchasing in-game currency (v-bucks) on the web, but ‌Epic Games‌ is not allowed to advertise that option in the app under the current rules.

fortnite v bucks
If Fortnite and other apps were able to advertise alternative payment options available to customers that aren't subject to Apple's 30 percent cut, it would address Epic's "walled garden" arguments and calls for alternative app store and payment options.

Apple is arguing to maintain the status quo, and when Apple witness and economist Richard Schmalensee was asked by the judge why it would be bad for customers to have choice, he pointed out that it would be undercutting the ‌App Store‌ sales and preventing Apple from collecting its commission.

It's not clear how the trial will ultimately play out, but there are still several days to go. Week three should be much more interesting, with Apple executives like Tim Cook and Phil Schiller planning to testify.

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
back to school 2024

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launches, Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Thursday June 20, 2024 4:29 am PDT by
Apple has launched its annual Back to School promotion for college students in the United States. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with any new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac, and a $100 gift card with the purchase of any new M4 iPad ...
iOS 17

Apple Releases First Public Beta of iOS 17.6

Thursday June 20, 2024 10:18 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first betas of upcoming iOS 17.6 and iPadOS 17.6 updates to public beta testers, with the betas coming a few days after the initial iOS and iPadOS 17.6 developer betas. Public beta testers can get the beta by opening up the Settings app, going to the Software Update section, tapping on the "Beta Updates" option, and toggling on the iOS 17 or iPadOS 17 Public Beta....

Top Rated Comments

I7guy Avatar
41 months ago
For the benefit of users and developers let’s pray Apple wins.
Score: 74 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ruka.snow Avatar
41 months ago

For the benefit of users and developers let us pray Epic wins.
Epic winning is bad for small and medium sized developers. Only Epic and fellow multi billion dollar companies would benefit from Epic winning.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jimbobb24 Avatar
41 months ago
Judge: Hey I have a compromise. Apple. You get to keep the store, upkeep, and code and support. But now for free! Compromise!
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wanted797 Avatar
41 months ago
If they allow apps to redirect to the web there’s going to be a lot of scams and phishing sites inserted into that link.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IamTimCook Avatar
41 months ago
Don't know why people haven't drawn the parallel to the increase in Bot calls in the past 6 years to when Facebook allowed game apps like FarmVille to download user's iPhone/Andriod contact list for prizes, and what happens when someone with your info on their phone downloads an infected app.

You yourself may have never have had Facebook (or side loaded apps) on your phone but someone in your contacts list did and download FarmVille, now FarmVille has your contact info, and is selling it to the highest and lowest bidder.

Now imagine someone in your contacts list downloads apps from shady App Store, now that shady app has all your info too.

Seriously can't understand how people aren't seeing this.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GizmoDVD Avatar
41 months ago
So the solutions is to allow Apps/Games to be free on the iOS store and tell them they can buy IAP and such outside of Apple?

Imagine being Target and letting all your products letting the customer know its cheaper elsewhere.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)