Epic Games v. Apple judge hints at App Store compromise

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is currently overseeing the Epic Games v. Apple trial hinted at a compromise: the ability for app developers to inform users that Apple’s App Store isn’t their only shopping option.

Epic Games v. Apple judge hints at App Store compromise after Epic Games' Fortnite violated Apple's App Store guidelines
Epic Games’ Fortnite violated Apple’s App Store guidelines

Malathi Nayak and Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

“What’s so bad about it anyway, for consumers to have choice?” Gonzalez Rogers asked Richard Schmalensee, an economist and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, who was testifying Wednesday as an expert witness for Apple in the second week of trial in Oakland, California.

Her question drew pushback from Schmalensee, who highlighted the downside for Apple: a decline in its App Store “revenue stream.”

MacDailyNews Take: So, we can sell our t-shirts and mousepads in Target’s, Walmart’s, Amazon’s, etc. online stores, taking advantage of the audience and clientele that Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc. have built through the years at considerable cost to them and use their store infrastructures, also funded by them, alongside a link to our own store that offers the same products for 15% – 30% less?

Sign us up!

Oh, wait. Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc. don’t allow free advertising for other stores in their stores. Duh.

You know, one slight change could transform this judge’s hint from epically stupid to genius: Epic Games or any other developer gets to “inform users that Apple’s App Store isn’t their only shopping option” simply by paying Apple a 15% – 30% advertising fee for each sale they make outside the App Store.

45 Comments

  1. I’m missing something here… Are you saying “side-loading” must now be allowed? If so, it’s over for Apple and control of the app store security, ecosystem, the entire thing.

    No. If EPIC wants to sell on iPhones, they can sell the way Apple designed, spent billions on. If they don’t, sell elsewhere.

    I mean, they could always click on the $7.99 option, and be taken to an EPIC website or such, and then options to buy Fortnite or whatever for Xbox, PS4/5, and be re-directed into those closed systems I suppose, for that lower price? Or just play online via EPIC’s web solution for less?

      1. Banning Fortnite, or any other popular App, may just have the effect of Apple pushing users to simply purchase Android/PC devices to gain access to those Apps. And for those users that have had no prior experience with those platforms, give them an opportunity to see what the ‘other’ side can do that iOS can’t.

    1. Bobby, as I read the article, the judge is not suggesting that Apple allow sideloading. She is suggesting that since app developers like EPIC and Spotify already sell content that can be accessed on their apps through their web sites (without Apple getting a cut), that Apple change its rules to allow the developers to tell app users about that cheaper option within the app itself. The Apple rules currently prohibit that.

      1. Agreed. That’s how I took the judge’s comments to mean also. It’s like buying a hand vac at Best Buy and having a flyer accompanying the instructions inside telling you where you can buy replacement filters rather then having to buy them exclusively from Best Buy. On another note Apple does get a little stickier by having popular Apps for iOS so there is a benefit for Apple to retain the favor of large developers.

        1. Bad analogy. A vac doesn’t require a data plan. Modern stuff that these companies want to sell us includes the widget (initial purchase) plus as much recurring rental fees as they can get away with.

          Apple wants it both ways but they are overstepping. They can sell the iPhone, no problem there. Why do they think they need to take a cut of all the data that a 3rd party service is trying to sell? The data isn’t routed through Apple servers. Apple doesn’t scan it for safety. They didn’t create it and they don’t improve it. It’s all 3rd party stuff from there on.

          The only reason Apple thinks they should have a 30% cut of everything isn’t because they can show they add value, but because they’ve gotten drunk on their monopoly power.

          The judge would be lenient to let Apple keep having sole power to distribute anything they didn’t create under their own arbitrary rules that they selectively enforce when it suits them.

          Don’t bitch about Parler treatment yesterday and now today support Apple’s market damaging position.

          1. As I have suggested before, you (whether the real GeoB or the fake Geob) might consider reading the articles before you comment on them. Apple does not “need to take a cut of all the data that a 3rd party service is trying to sell.” It does not want to do that. It does not do that. It never has. You just made it up.

            If you buy a Kindle book through the Amazon website, you can read on your iDevice without Apple collecting a penny. Same for music on the Spotify app that you paid for on the Spotify website. I assume that game enhancements you buy on the EPIC web site attach to your character when you continue the game on their iPhone app. To the best of my knowledge, Apple has never even tried to control or tax any data stream to your device that you bought outside the Apple ecosystem.

            What they do is to collect a 15-30% commission on sales made directly through the Apple ecosystem, just like Amazon collects a commission on sales through its website and Target collects a commission on sales through its physical stores. That commission is how Apple finances an App Store that mostly stocks “free” apps with in-app purchases.

            If a developer does not want to deal with the commission on in-app purchases, they can sell their enhancements through their web sites, as Amazon, Spotify, and EPIC already do. If a customer does not want to pay a commission, they can buy the enhancement through a web site. If customers want the convenience of an in-app purchase, they can expect to pay for the convenience by paying a commission. If the developer wants the extra sales volume from more convenient in-app purchases, they can expect to collect a commission (which they will likely pass through to the customer).

            As the real GeoB would say, there, I fixed it for you.

          2. Well, well, well, the REAL GoeB still lives rent free in your deranged head and you are a despicable IMPOSTER.🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻

            Nuff said…

    2. So here’s a question. Does Ford, GM, or any other auto manufacturer get to tell you what brand of tires you can put on the vehicle you have paid for?

      How is that any different than Apple dictating to you what software you can put on the device you have paid for?

      It’s a question of choice. If you want to only use the Apple App store, you should be free to do so. If you wish to load software from someplace else, you should be free to do that as well. This would of course would create competition and force Apple to step up their game to justify their 30%.

          1. The people who are technically competent enough to manage jailbreaking are technically competent enough to defend against malware. My 95-year-old mother isn’t.

            1. Bless your mom, but tell her to inky get things from the App Store and to stop holding us back.

              Should the whole internet be AOL only?

          1. Yes, because if she gets scammed into installing malware it will be her fault. It’s always the victim’s fault in the MDN comments, whether it is murder, sexual harassment, disease, fraud, or slander.

            1. It’s a setting. On macOS it’s only allow apps downloaded from Mac App Store, Mac App Store and identified developers, or Anywhere (yes I know latest OS has hidden the last one. They need to put it back). I fail to see the issue. If you are so concerned about Malware, or don’t want to deal with cleaning up your grandmothers phone (can understand that one), then just tell her don’t change that setting from App Store.

              Additionally, the whole point of the certificate system is that if somebody is putting out malware they can be reported to the certificate authority. The CA can then revoke their certificate. Part of the agreement every CA requires is that you will not use the certificate to sign malware. Everything Apple has done beyond that is purely for their own enrichment.

              Beyond the 30%, developers have to pay Apple, at a minimum, $100 a year just to get a signing certificate. Enterprise developers it’s more depending on the size of team. So a developer making software for both Windows and Apple products has to pay for two certificates instead of being able to use the same certificate authority for both.

              The latest Apple brainstorm, notarization, has nothing to do with “security” either. It is all about Apple being able to “review” software even if not in the App Store. Once all the legal brew-ha-ha settles down I am sure they will start denying notarization if a developer doesn’t do things the way they want.

  2. I’m sure Target, Walmart, and the rest will allow me to sell my $200 a pair running shoes in their stores and also allow me to put up a large sign right next to those shoes telling the consumer that they can walk down the street to my own store, get those same shoes for $140 as well as get many, many other shoes and accessories in my store at a significantly reduced price from what they’d have to pay through Target, Walmart and the rest.

    Yes. I’m sure Target, Walmart, and the rest will allow me to do that.

    /s

        1. And each individual copy is licensed to a user for use on their personally device. They did not se4ll them a paperweight, But then there’s “Fair Use” arguments which legalized jailbreaking in spite of Apple’s best efforts.

      1. You continue to make false comparisons I don’t agree with and certainly understand your prolonged disagreement with how Apple does business.

        Steve Jobs introduced Apps to developers and soon thereafter the App Store was born. I don’t recall anyone else in the computing world doing the same then on any scale, or years before.

        The bottom line is simple and to use an analogy, you swim in Apple’s pool, you OBEY the lifeguard.

        Looking forward to your abbreviated deflective nebulous retort…

          1. When you claim that nobody had apps or an App Store before Steve Jobs introduced one in 2008, the various Palm app stores dating back to 1998 are obviously relevant.

            1. “I don’t recall anyone else in the computing world doing the same then on any scale, or years before.”

              Mr. pointy head Leftist Correct All, I said and pay attention because you have a serious reading comprehension PROBLEM, I posted and made no such claims — “I don’t recall.”

              In no way claims “When you claim that nobody had apps” is another classic unabashed TxUseless LIE!

              Why don’t you spend more time correcting all your daily LIES and BLIND sycophant support of everything Democrat?

              You ARE irrelevant and stupid on this forum and come back for more…

            2. You shouldn’t claim that something is true if you don’t actually “recall” it. The notion that Steve Jobs “introduced apps to developers” was not irrelevant. It was central to your argument that everybody else is just a mindless follower who should choose between the Apple Way or the highway. I think that Apple should win this lawsuit, but I do not base it on fantasies about Steve Jobs.

            3. TxLIAR, NEVER CLAIMED “something is true”. You have a serious PROBLEM with reading comprehension and continue to MISREPRESENT my posts. I’ll remember to tell you WHAT TO DO in the future…

            4. This is your SOP. You repeatedly build an argument around an untrue proposition, refuse to stand by the premise for your conclusion when you are challenged, but double down on the conclusion nevertheless.

              It’’s like one of our County Commissioners who would tell outrageous lies about people. When he was challenged, he would say, “I said I heard it on the street. I didn’t actually say it was true so you can’t sue me for slander.” We had a President who did the same thing: “People are saying that Barack Obama is a Kenya-born Muslim.” When challenged, both the Commissioner and the President would demand that their victim prove that the absurd lie was untrue.

        1. Steve Jobs certainly did not introduce Apps to developers. Applications were being developed long before Steve Jobs came on the scene.

          As to app stores, Version Tracker, Download.com, MacUpdate, SoftPedia to name a few. Version Tracker and MacUpdate I know were around before Apple’s app store. I have to wonder if Jobs didn’t actually get the idea watching them.

          1. According to Wikipedia, Jobs saw a presentation of The Electronic AppWrapper in 1993. It became a major source for NeXT software long before Jobs came back to Apple.

    1. Yes, but you can’t place an ad in another company’s physical stores, or on their online store. Television networks and magazines charge huge amounts to place ads on platforms they’ve built audiences for. They wouldn’t allow you to place an ad on them without paying.

      Apple has spent untold billions of dollars building a platform with an audience of about a billion users. There are plenty of ways to communicate with people without paying Apple (web, email, media outlets) but if you want to use Apple’s platform to sell or to advertise it seems fair they charge for it.

  3. Apple has not prohibited Apps that access content that can be purchased through the developers’ website like Netflix, Amazon, etc. so this ‘compromise’ of reminding users that some in-App purchases can be made at the 3rd party’s website instead is providing users a choice of the convenience of using the in-App system or purchasing from the dev’s website. This may incentivize Apple to make the ‘fee’ reasonable enough the user doesn’t bother going to the 3rd party site, a form of pricing ‘competition’ that doesn’t degrade Apple’s security or privacy concerns, nor requires allowing alternative iOS App stores.

    1. Apple isn’t required to have any App Store on their devices. Apple devices would sell with just Apple japps, the next best 5,000 curated apps picked by Apple.

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