Phil Schiller testifies about Apple data collection, App Store favoritism

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 18
Apple Fellow Phil Schiller took the stand for the second day in a row in the Epic Games v. Apple trial, revealing details ranging from data collection to an influencer program for Apple Arcade.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


During his testimony on Tuesday, Schiller was asked by Epic's lawyers about the kind of information that Apple collects from its users, including data for ad personalization, location "tracking," and storage time limits for said information.

For example, Schiller shot down accusations that Apple collects data to track its users, claiming that location services is about "geographically relevant applications" and not tracking where users are. Epic's lawyers pointed out that users can't stop Apple from collecting this information, but can opt out of getting targeted ads. When asked whether Apple collects "a lot of information" about its users, Schiller said he didn't agree.

The Apple Fellow also laid out some of the reasons why the Cupertino company does not allow stores-within-stores on the App Store.

"All the apps and services that are delivered through those stores are not reviewed by App Review," Schiller said. Allowing alternate app stores could open the door to "an unbounded number of stores within stores," he added.

Schiller also revealed that the company's Apple Arcade team was working on a plan to reach out to internet influencers in an effort to boost the gaming platform. He defined influencers as "people who create vlogs on YouTube and other social media channels."

The executive also defended a now-removed Apple guideline that instructed developers not to go to the press with their App Store complaints. Schiller said Apple didn't want disputes with developers to be fought publicly, and said that media outlets often don't have "all the facts." That guideline has since been removed.

When questioned about whether Apple favors its own apps in App Store search ranking, Schiller refuted that claim. Instead, he says the algorithm uses 42 different factors that "help the customer find what they're most looking for," regardless of whether the results show Apple apps more prominently.

Schiller also discussed Apple's use of open source software, the institution of in-app payments, differentiating iMessages from texts, Apple's first-party Contacts app and more.

On Monday, Schiller revealed more about other Apple policies, including details on its premium content provider program and the fact that Epic Games' lawsuit helped push through the small business program that slashes commissions to 15% for developers making less than $1 million on the App Store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,337member
    “For he’s an Apple good fellow” 🎶 


    What a shi**y case. A 3rd party trying to tell a company how to run their business. Imagine walking into Wal-Mart pretending to be manager, telling people what to do and demanding you get everything free. Oh, and you’re a BILLIONAIRE!
    jony0bshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,994member
    For people wondering why the number of algorithms used for app search ranking is 42, that is the answer to life, the universe and everything.
    steveauthtapplguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,569member
    "When questioned about whether Apple favors its own apps in App Store search ranking, Schiller refuted that claim. Instead, he says the algorithm uses 42 different factors that "help the customer find what they're most looking for," regardless of whether the results show Apple apps more prominently."

    Cynical me --- one factor is Apps from developers you already use, which if it included all Apple's pre-installed deletable apps would still favour them.  
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 4 of 12
    tedz98tedz98 Posts: 52member
    I like this case because it’s all about checks and balances. Apple is huge. Many of its policies are self-serving to drive profitability- which is normal and acceptable. But a company can get too big, too powerful, too self-serving. Which is at the heart of the matter with this case. The same can be said of Google and Facebook and Twitter. I’m tired of all the fan boys with their Walmart analogies. There are competitors and alternatives to Walmart. Not so much the case with Apple. The Apple “walled garden “ has advantages and disadvantages for the consumer and developer. But does Apple have too much control? Too much of an advantage? Too much market dominance? That is the question. The big tech platforms may be approaching a day of reckoning regarding monopoly status. Time will tell.
    williamlondonBeats
  • Reply 5 of 12
    tedz98 said:
    But does Apple have too much control? Too much of an advantage? Too much market dominance? That is the question. The big tech platforms may be approaching a day of reckoning regarding monopoly status. Time will tell.
    "Control" isn't really the issue. Think about the ebook case that Apple lost where Amazon was in control of over 90% of the ebook market at the time of the court case. What mattered was that Apple was viewed by the court as having harmed consumers by colluding with publishers to raise the price of NY Time bestseller titles. You don't really see anything like that in Epic's case. Commission? It's never been raised, only cut, and Apple has provided proof that it's in line with the rest of the industry. Anti-steering? Standard across the e-commerce industry and Epic hasn't provided any proof that Apple's version of it has any significant difference versus what other companies do. Epic has struggled to come up with anything that resembles harm to consumers in court. 
    williamlondonFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    earthkidearthkid Posts: 22member
    who doesn't have favoritism? other platform of App Store I'm sure they also have favoritism as well but how come they don't go and pick on them. I'm not saying that apple App Store does but what I say is who doesn't like those who treat you better than those people treat you like crap. would you like someone looking to sue you and still treat them good? yes sure I like people hurt me the most. Laughing out loud stupid! 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    The favoritism argument is old and cold and a complete red herring.  It has been disproven many times, just type in the following queries 1) Excel, 2) Spotify, 3) word, 4( Powerpoint........See no Apple apps come first, but even if they did, to the extent the Apple apps are feee, who cares.  Now type in 1) Numbers, 3) Music, 3) Pages, 4) Keynote.   Oh no, apple comes highly ranked.  do you think it has anything to do with the choice of query terms, that being the name of the primary application?  So is someone's complaint that Music is a more descriptive word than Spotify? 

    I haven't seen a thing in this trial yet that is monopolistic behavior.  Matter of fact, substitute the world Apple for amazon or bet buy, hmmmm.  the amazon shopping experience is almost identical to the App Store, same with Best Buy with the exception that you can actually download apps from Apple and pay for them completely outside the App Store and not pay Apple anything.  Not so with Amazon or Best Buy, and they won't even deliver your purchases that you bought from another source - horrid!
    Beatsthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,337member
    tedz98 said:
    I like this case because it’s all about checks and balances. Apple is huge. Many of its policies are self-serving to drive profitability- which is normal and acceptable. But a company can get too big, too powerful, too self-serving. Which is at the heart of the matter with this case. The same can be said of Google and Facebook and Twitter. I’m tired of all the fan boys with their Walmart analogies. There are competitors and alternatives to Walmart. Not so much the case with Apple. The Apple “walled garden “ has advantages and disadvantages for the consumer and developer. But does Apple have too much control? Too much of an advantage? Too much market dominance? That is the question. The big tech platforms may be approaching a day of reckoning regarding monopoly status. Time will tell.

    Imagine saying Wal-Mart is too big so you cry about it to the government and demand access to their profits and hard work?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,337member
    earthkid said:
    who doesn't have favoritism? other platform of App Store I'm sure they also have favoritism as well but how come they don't go and pick on them. I'm not saying that apple App Store does but what I say is who doesn't like those who treat you better than those people treat you like crap. would you like someone looking to sue you and still treat them good? yes sure I like people hurt me the most. Laughing out loud stupid! 

    Tim Weenie is the type of guy to knock on the neighbors house and complain that the mother doesn’t make him dinner too.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    mattinoz said:
    "When questioned about whether Apple favors its own apps in App Store search ranking, Schiller refuted that claim. Instead, he says the algorithm uses 42 different factors that "help the customer find what they're most looking for," regardless of whether the results show Apple apps more prominently."

    Cynical me --- one factor is Apps from developers you already use, which if it included all Apple's pre-installed deletable apps would still favour them.  
    Price/performance-wise, the only Apple app I find overshadowed by a competitor is Calendar vs. Fantastical - and Fantastical is often highlighted in the Apple Store.

    Apple apps in general deliver in price/performance/value, and if I were running an app store those are the apps I'd highlight.

    I suppose that Apple could produce a Fantastical killer, but I doubt it. Apple wants to produce built-in apps that achieve a certain minimum functionality, and stand-alone pro apps which deliver tons of functionality at killer prices (like FCPX). They want to sell their pro apps, but even more they want to sell hardware. And they want to add functionality to their hardware through software that keeps valued customers in the ecosystem.

    They produce the devices, they product the software, and tightly integrate them producing a synergy not found elsewhere - though others like Samsung seem to have heard the angels sing and are now trying to do it themselves.

    When you make the widget, you've created your own playground - and if others want to play in your playground, they have to follow your rules. If you take away the control, you disincentivize innovation and remove much of the reason for creating new great stuff.

    Epic and others got rich playing in other people's playgrounds, and now are trying to use the government to shoot them down one by one like an overbearing hall monitor drunk on his own power. Why don't they create their own playground like Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and Apple have done? Because no one would bloody buy it, that's why.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,350moderator
    tedz98 said:
    I like this case because it’s all about checks and balances. Apple is huge. Many of its policies are self-serving to drive profitability- which is normal and acceptable. But a company can get too big, too powerful, too self-serving. Which is at the heart of the matter with this case. The same can be said of Google and Facebook and Twitter. I’m tired of all the fan boys with their Walmart analogies. There are competitors and alternatives to Walmart. Not so much the case with Apple. The Apple “walled garden “ has advantages and disadvantages for the consumer and developer. But does Apple have too much control? Too much of an advantage? Too much market dominance? That is the question. The big tech platforms may be approaching a day of reckoning regarding monopoly status. Time will tell.
    Sorry you’re tired of an appropriate analogy.  We’re going to continue using it until someone can actually refute it.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    I twitch every time an Apple executive implies that only Apple can make decisions that affect the devices owned by their customers. "Allowing alternate app stores could open the door to an unbounded number of stores within stores." Heaven forbid! In actual fact, hardly anyone would do this, either developers or users. However downloading a third party app store would open a new world of possibilities to iOS users. MacOS users have been enjoying just a few third party app stores for the last couple of decades. The one that leaps to mind is Steam. Without it, there would be almost no games worth playing on the Mac. Has anyone here dowloaded an app store from Steam? If not, what does this say about Phil Schiller's argument?
    edited May 20
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