Tim Cook’s testimony about Fortnite’s trial was surprisingly revealing

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Epic v. Apple the trial was reserved for Tims. Epic Games called CEO Tim Sweeney the first witness nearly three weeks ago. Yesterday, Apple called Tim Cook for a final statement before both sides made their final case to the judge on Monday. Cook had to bring home the defense of Apple to his ecosystem. He did it by setting Apple’s most careful principles – but also its tough financial calculations.

Epic v. Apple covers two separate issues: whether the in-app purchases market in the App Store is unfairly monopolistic and whether iOS self is a monopoly that should be open to third party stores and page downloads. Cook addressed both user security and privacy. “Data protection from our perspective is one of the most important issues of the century, and security and safety are the foundation on which privacy is built,” he explained to an Apple lawyer, repeating countless iPhone advertising campaigns. “Technology has the ability to clear all kinds of information from people, and we want to provide people with tools to circumvent it.”

Supporting apps downloaded on the page would make iOS a redesign, and it’s much easier for Cook and Apple to spot potential downsides. User management poses risk, and Cook argued that people choose iOS specifically so they don’t have to make risky data with sensitive data. “We try to give the customer an integrated solution for hardware, software and services,” he said. “I just don’t think you’re playing it on a third party.”

Epic gathered its own arguments: people can still keep their phones locked, and they may want to access stores with even more carefully curated apps or even better privacy controls. In the past, it has been accused of Apple for hypocrisy, suggesting anecdotal failures to get certain applications (such as a game called) Ganja Farmer: Weed Empire) that violate the App Store guidelines. “It’s not 100 percent. It’s not perfect. You’ll find mistakes making,” Cook said when an Apple advisor asked about these events. . “

Fortunately, Apple judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has not shown much interest in fully opening iOS. He has asked a steady question about in-app purchases, anti-steering provisionsand the structure of the individual applications such as Roblox, but rarely from distributing or downloading third-party applications. (One of the few cases felt critical also from Epic.) Although Rogers ’questions do not necessarily indicate how he manages, requests for details or clarifications are quite prominently missing.

However, the loss of mandatory in-app purchase fees will still be lost be a big blow Apple. Cook used more privacy and security claims to defend the system, saying it would be both uncertain and cumbersome to let apps process payments separately. However, he was also a little vague about Apple’s own interests. “IAP helps Apple effectively collect fees — for processing payments, but also for customer service and the use of Apple’s intellectual property. Without in-app purchases, “we would have to come up with a new system to bill developers, which I think would be a mess.” If Apple lets developers tell users about other payment methods, Cook said later, “we would give up essentially the total revenue from our IP products.”

Apple yesterday called an expert to describe how multi-billion dollar research and development costs will help developers through metal-like APIs and CoreML. Apple may not have a gloomy return on these investments. But unlike better privacy and security features, higher profit margins do not directly improve consumer welfare, which is a key standard in competition rules. Judge Rogers terminated Cook’s testimony some of his most interesting questions, grills Cook on whether to buy in – app games – like Fortnite V-Bucks and Candy Crush gold – actually supported the rest of the App Store.

Rogers doesn’t show up in person Like microtransactions of video games; he has pondered several times about possible predatory attacks. But what matters is that he brought up games. Epic has been working to get this suit to cover all App Store purchases, while Apple has tried to limit it to selling digital video games. (That’s why the witnesses spent so much time trying to define the game.) Cook’s interrogation suggested that even if iOS remained intact and “gamers” were the only audience in question, Apple would still have battles.

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