Apple's Cook, Federighi, Schiller, other top execs to testify in trial with Epic

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 20
Current and former Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook and ex-iOS chief Scott Forstall, are scheduled to testify at an upcoming trial involving Epic Games that could reshape how the tech giant manages the App Store.

Fortnite


According to a tentative witness list submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, Apple is furnishing a total of 11 current and former executives with ties to the App Store for live questioning. Others will sit for depositions.

On the list are Cook, Forstall, SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, Apple Fellow and former head of marketing Phil Schiller, App Store VP Matt Fischer, commerce and payments director Eric Gray, game development manager Mark Grimm, senior director of developer technical services C.K. Haun, senior director of marketing Trystan Kosmynka, senior director of partnership management and worldwide developer relations Shaan Pruden, head of game business Michael Schmid, and head of fraud eng., algorithms and risk Eric Friedman.

"Our senior executives look forward to sharing with the court the very positive impact the App Store has had on innovation, economies across the world and the customer experience over the last 12 years," Apple said in a statement to MacRumors. "We feel confident the case will prove that Epic purposefully breached its agreement solely to increase its revenues, which is what resulted in their removal from the App Store. By doing that, Epic circumvented the security features of the App Store in a way that would lead to reduced competition and put consumers' privacy and data security at tremendous risk."

Cook is estimated to sit for an hour of examination, an hour of cross-examination, and a 10-minute re-direct, when he will speak on Apple's corporate values, development and launch of the App Store and industry competition. Federighi will appear for a total of just over three hours and will offer information pertaining to iOS, competition faced by Apple, Apple's investment and efforts to combat malware and spyware, as well as other issues relating to user security, according to Apple's filing.

Schiller's testimony is expected to last a total of 11 hours -- six hours for direct examination, four hours for cross-examination and one hour for re-direct examination. The head of App Store operations is anticipated to answer questions relating to the development and launch of the digital marketplace, its policies and guidelines, business model, commission system, and app distribution in general. He will also provide testimony on iOS, industry competition, and the design, development, launch, and marketing of iPhone.

Forstall is being called as a third party witness and will be deposed prior to the trial. Other third party witnesses include executives from Facebook, Microsoft and Nvidia, as well as former Apple employees Ron Okamoto and Phillip Shoemaker.

Epic is tentatively expected to provide CEO Tim Sweeney, COO Daniel Vogel, former CFO Joseph Babcock, VP of marketing Matthew Weissinger and other current and former executives as witnesses.

The forthcoming bench trial, which kicked off when Epic sued Apple over the removal of "Fortnite" from the App Store, is scheduled to start on May 3 at the behest of Judge Yvonne Gonzalez.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    DetnatorDetnator Posts: 145member
    Hmmm...  this’ll be good. Time to make the popcorn.
    macwiz44watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 32
    I have not seen anyone mention or comment on this from the original Epic actions. 

    - Epic complained about Apple’s 30% cut on in-app purchases. Fortnight is free in the App Store. Note: it is a multi gigabyte download. Multiple that for every user download and every app update/upgrade. Apple has to pay for bandwidth so this “free” download doesn’t cost Epic anything, but it does cost Apple. 
    - Epic’s in-app purchase was $10, so $3 was going to Apple
    - I believe on their web site Epic lowered the price to $7 to show they would “pass the savings to customers”. This is for the PC-based version I believe. 
    - But here’s my item that I haven’t seen mentioned, in Epic’s new in-app purchase they were charging $8. Not $7. So in their proposed new system they are actually making more money and not passing it onto consumers. A 14.3% increase in the money they would receive from consumers. Or they are acknowledging there is a 12.5% cost to providing in-app payments to consumers. So, if we give Apple the same costs for their in-app system, then Apple is making a profit less than 20% for the iOS ecosystem and everything they have built to generate that development business model that Epic is profiting from. 

     Epic was never doing this for the consumers. They see a way to make more money and remove a cost of doing business. 

    hammeroftruthlkruppdigitolAlex1Nn2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,010member
    If Epic prevails and Apple is forced to allow Epic to process payments without Apple getting cut then Apple should be within its rights to charge a monthly fee for their app to remain on App Store shelves, say $5K/mo or more.
    n2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 32
    macwiz44 said:
    I have not seen anyone mention or comment on this from the original Epic actions. 

    - Epic complained about Apple’s 30% cut on in-app purchases. Fortnight is free in the App Store. Note: it is a multi gigabyte download. Multiple that for every user download and every app update/upgrade. Apple has to pay for bandwidth so this “free” download doesn’t cost Epic anything, but it does cost Apple. 
    - Epic’s in-app purchase was $10, so $3 was going to Apple
    - I believe on their web site Epic lowered the price to $7 to show they would “pass the savings to customers”. This is for the PC-based version I believe. 
    - But here’s my item that I haven’t seen mentioned, in Epic’s new in-app purchase they were charging $8. Not $7. So in their proposed new system they are actually making more money and not passing it onto consumers. A 14.3% increase in the money they would receive from consumers. Or they are acknowledging there is a 12.5% cost to providing in-app payments to consumers. So, if we give Apple the same costs for their in-app system, then Apple is making a profit less than 20% for the iOS ecosystem and everything they have built to generate that development business model that Epic is profiting from. 

     Epic was never doing this for the consumers. They see a way to make more money and remove a cost of doing business. 

    I don’t think they ever thought they would have to show their math. I think they would claim that if Apple dropped the percentage of their cut, then Epic would reduce the amount of the purchase by that much. Epic is trying to convince consumers that Apple’s fees are like EBay’s fees and are unnecessarily high. 

    If it gets this far, the case would shine a light on how much “free” apps cost Apple, and the results might shock some people. 

    The thing that gets me is how is Epic going to explain being happy with the agreement for so long to all of a sudden, break it with premeditation of legal action. That is not acting in good faith. <— Big stickler when enforcing business agreements. 
    Alex1Nn2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 32
    danoxdanox Posts: 501member
    Why is Apple doing business with them?, when this is over cut them out of your business life.

    Sometimes you just need to move on from a bad marriage.....
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 32
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,689member
    macwiz44 said:
    I have not seen anyone mention or comment on this from the original Epic actions. 

    - Epic complained about Apple’s 30% cut on in-app purchases. Fortnight is free in the App Store. Note: it is a multi gigabyte download. Multiple that for every user download and every app update/upgrade. Apple has to pay for bandwidth so this “free” download doesn’t cost Epic anything, but it does cost Apple. 
    - Epic’s in-app purchase was $10, so $3 was going to Apple
    - I believe on their web site Epic lowered the price to $7 to show they would “pass the savings to customers”. This is for the PC-based version I believe. 
    - But here’s my item that I haven’t seen mentioned, in Epic’s new in-app purchase they were charging $8. Not $7. So in their proposed new system they are actually making more money and not passing it onto consumers. A 14.3% increase in the money they would receive from consumers. Or they are acknowledging there is a 12.5% cost to providing in-app payments to consumers. So, if we give Apple the same costs for their in-app system, then Apple is making a profit less than 20% for the iOS ecosystem and everything they have built to generate that development business model that Epic is profiting from. 

     Epic was never doing this for the consumers. They see a way to make more money and remove a cost of doing business. 

    I don’t think they ever thought they would have to show their math. I think they would claim that if Apple dropped the percentage of their cut, then Epic would reduce the amount of the purchase by that much. Epic is trying to convince consumers that Apple’s fees are like EBay’s fees and are unnecessarily high. 

    If it gets this far, the case would shine a light on how much “free” apps cost Apple, and the results might shock some people. 

    The thing that gets me is how is Epic going to explain being happy with the agreement for so long to all of a sudden, break it with premeditation of legal action. That is not acting in good faith. <— Big stickler when enforcing business agreements. 
    Pressure mounts and public opinion counts. 

    For Apple this is an Epic battle but not the only one they are fighting on the wider App Store front.

    I don't know if Epic ever claimed it was happy with the situation up to the moment it filed the complaint.

    As with all battles, timing and coordination are key. Perhaps Epic simply thought 'now is the moment' seeing as other investigations and protests over the App Store are ongoing.

    Apple has already made some changes to its business model as a result of the situation.

    It's going to be interesting when we get beyond the PR prepared statements. 
    edited March 20 Alex1N
  • Reply 7 of 32
    What does the Free Fortnite logo represent? I'm sure I'll kick myself, but I just cannot figure it out!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 32
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 742member
    I'm curious, does anyone know how much Epic profited just from the iOS platform alone? If it did more harm then good from being on the App Store, they had the choice to go elsewhere, but something tells me that's not the case here.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 32
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,103member
    As usual, Apple fighting for the entire industry. These cases really spotlight the original from the knockoffs.

    What does the Free Fortnite logo represent? I'm sure I'll kick myself, but I just cannot figure it out!

    It’s a dumb tagline they created that 12-year-old kids were repeating. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 32
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,436moderator
    JinTech said:
    I'm curious, does anyone know how much Epic profited just from the iOS platform alone? If it did more harm then good from being on the App Store, they had the choice to go elsewhere, but something tells me that's not the case here.
    Apple said Epic made $600m from the App Store:

    https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/09/apple-accuses-epic-of-theft-in-countersuit-over-ios-fortnite/

    "Epic has happily agreed to Apple's contractual terms to access iOS development since 2008, earning over $600 million from App Store sales in that period."

    https://www.ign.com/articles/epic-games-asks-the-court-once-more-to-reinstate-fortnite-to-apples-app-store-after-daily-ios-players-drop-by-over-60

    "Epic says that iOS is the biggest platform for Fortnite with over 116 million registered users, almost a third of its 350 million registered users."

    Apple even had Epic at their events a couple of times:




    JinTechAlex1Nmuthuk_vanalingamn2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 32
    How many words will the Apple execs need to explain why YOU can't install any software YOU want on YOUR devices?
  • Reply 12 of 32
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,103member
    How many words will the Apple execs need to explain why YOU can't install any software YOU want on YOUR devices?
    I don't think Apple cares one bit if you manage to install Android on your iPhone. But Apple isn't required to modify iOS to suit your personal needs any more than Epic is required to modify Fortnite to suit my personal needs. It's Apple's software and you don't own it. Apple doesn't even have to let you install ANY apps.
    roundaboutnowhammeroftruthericthehalfbeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 32
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,788member
    What's the colorful Easter Rabbit got to do with Fortnite?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 32
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,103member

    How many words will the Apple execs need to explain why YOU can't install any software YOU want on YOUR devices?
    The answer is twelve.

    "Apple has no obligation ... to allow any users ... to install any software."
    roundaboutnowradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 32
    What does the Free Fortnite logo represent? I'm sure I'll kick myself, but I just cannot figure it out!
    It’s the Fortnite Llama mascot, plus llama piñatas are the main loot boxes in the game:

    https://fortnite.fandom.com/wiki/Llama_Pinatas

    So I guess the idea is that the Apple Llama is a loot box for Apple, or stealing Fortnite’s loot, or something. I’m sure they thought they were being super clever when they came up with it. But it does somehow encapsulate the stupidity of the whole campaign.
    edited March 20 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 32
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,638member
    Can understand Schiller, as he has a broad responsibility for the App Store, but no idea what Federighi will be able to contribute.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 742member
    Marvin said:
    JinTech said:
    I'm curious, does anyone know how much Epic profited just from the iOS platform alone? If it did more harm then good from being on the App Store, they had the choice to go elsewhere, but something tells me that's not the case here.
    Apple said Epic made $600m from the App Store:

    https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/09/apple-accuses-epic-of-theft-in-countersuit-over-ios-fortnite/

    "Epic has happily agreed to Apple's contractual terms to access iOS development since 2008, earning over $600 million from App Store sales in that period."

    https://www.ign.com/articles/epic-games-asks-the-court-once-more-to-reinstate-fortnite-to-apples-app-store-after-daily-ios-players-drop-by-over-60

    "Epic says that iOS is the biggest platform for Fortnite with over 116 million registered users, almost a third of its 350 million registered users."
    Thank you for providing that information. I imagine the $600 million is gross rather than net. Still an impressive amount of cash for a game that is free to download. Now, they are making 100% of nothing, instead of sucking it up to make 70% of something. As others have stated, this really just feels like a publicity stunt gone wrong horribly wrong for Epic.
    edited March 20 Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 32
    dee_deedee_dee Posts: 41member
    How many words will the Apple execs need to explain why YOU can't install any software YOU want on YOUR devices?
    How much software can you install on your car?  None? How about your fridge? None?  Let’s try something else. How about bypassing the App Store on your LG tv?  That’s what I thought. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 32
    roakeroake Posts: 737member
    How many words will the Apple execs need to explain why YOU can't install any software YOU want on YOUR devices?
    You knew how iOS worked.  If you didn’t know, you didn’t read the agreements you signed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 32
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,182member
    How many words will the Apple execs need to explain why YOU can't install any software YOU want on YOUR devices?

    Just one word ........ Jailbreak. 

    Or maybe instead of being an "Outdoor" app developer, you should try becoming an iOS app developer. With a $99/a year Apple Developer account, YOU can side load any app YOU want into YOUR iOS device, by using the provided X-Code and a Mac or PC. Even if the iOS app don't meet the certification to be in the Apple App Store, iOS developers can side load it into their own iDevice for "testing" purposes. Just like how an Amazon Fire device can be put in "developer mode", to side load apps not available in the Amazon App Store.  Only one wouldn't need to pay Amazon for a developer account to do so.   
    n2itivguywatto_cobra
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