US judge presses Epic CEO on the second day of Apple antitrust trial

On the second day of the Apple antitrust trial, a United States judge pressed the Fortnite-maker Epic’s chief executive officer on how the changes that the developer demands would have an affect on the livelihoods of millions of Apple developers. 

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers asked Epic CEO Tim Sweeney if he had knowledge about economics of running other types of apps like dating apps or food apps. Sweeney said he didn’t. 

So you don’t have any idea how what you are asking for would impact any of the developers who engage in those other categories of apps, is that right?” the judge asked

I personally do not,” Epic CEO replied. 

Last year, Epic’s hit title Fortnite was removed from the App Store after the game-maker launched its direct payment system that bypassed the 30% fee that app stores charge for each in-app purchase. 

On the first day of the Apple antitrust trial that started this Monday and will last for 3 weeks, Epic said that Apple users and developers are “trapped” in the App Store, while Apple accused the Fortnite-maker of making itself look like a ‘‘bad guy’’.

Also Read: Apple users are trapped in the App Store, Epic says at the first day of antitrust trial

During the second day of the antitrust trial, Apple lawyers said that, instead of rolling out a direct payment system, Epic could have sold V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency, directly through its website and users could visit the website via iPhone or iPad Safari browser. This way, Apple wouldn’t cut any commission, Apple lawyers said. 

The judge asked the Epic CEO the reason why iPhone users couldn’t purchase V-Bucks through Apple’s Safari browser. Tim Sweeney accepted that they could have used the feature, however ‘’it wasn’t a very attractive option for our customers,” he said

 “To set Fortnite aside and pull out some device, browse to a website, log in, make a transaction there, it’s extremely inconvenient.” he added. “There’s a huge amount of payment processing and customer friction associated with selling a user of an app an item outside of that app.”

“Why is it so inconvenient that someone can’t make what I would call, as a parent, an impulse purchase?” the judge said after she asked the CEO about the average age range of Fortnite players. “Isn’t that a responsible way to deal with a young client base?” If people can buy V-Bucks and then switch platforms, “what you’re really asking for is the ability to have impulse purchases.”

‘’Yes. Customer convenience is a huge factor in this.’’ Sweeny said. ‘’People are much more likely to make a purchase if it’s easy to make a purchase,”

Written by Maya Robertson


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