Epic Games witnesses criticize App Store anti-steering provisions

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 11
Two expert witnesses in the Epic Games v. Apple trial on Tuesday argued that Apple's App Store anti-steering provisions make it difficult for iPhone owners to know they can use some apps on other devices.

Credit: Epic Games
Credit: Epic Games


Economist David Evans, who is laying out a case for why Apple has an unfair monopoly on iOS app distribution, specifically pointed toward measures that prevent developers from advertising outside platforms and websites on the App Store.

Evans gave the example of V-Bucks, the in-game currency of "Fortnite," saying it's "theoretically possible" for "Fortnite" players to buy V-Bucks via web browser instead of in the iOS app. However, Apple blocks developers from advertising off-platform mechanisms.

"The problem here is a combination of both requiring Epic to use [in-app purchases] in the iOS Fortnite app in combination with also putting a whole set of barriers that ... makes it much more difficult for Epic to communicate to the iOS app user," Evans said.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers then asked if the removal of those anti-steering provisions could mitigate the problem.

In response, Evans said that this solution would work "for the time being," since it would diminish but not eliminate Apple's alleged market power. He added that the solution wouldn't be possible for apps that don't have a website or web version, or for consumers without easy access to a computer.

Apple's lawyer suggested that Epic Games could buy ads letting players know they can purchase V-Bucks outside of the App Store. The implication is that platform owners shouldn't be required "as a matter of competitive activity to advertise the actions that are available to the consumer."

Epic's other witness on Tuesday, Stanford Economics professor Susan Athey, also mentioned the anti-steering provisions during her testimony.

Consumers, Athey said, "can't tell from looking at their app on their iPhone where they may be able to find that app" on other devices or platforms. At another point, she also pointed out that subscriptions made through Apple's platform are stuck in the Apple ecosystem. One solution, Athey said, is "middleware," or systems like alternative payment platforms on iOS or cross-platform app stores.

Apple's lawyers countered these arguments. In Athey's case, they pointed out that she hadn't actually analyzed how much money users would spend on repurchasing apps or subscriptions. Athey agreed. Apple also took issue with Athey's ties to Microsoft, as well as they fact that she didn't have access to critical App Store-related business documents prior to offering testimony against the storefront.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,167member
    Said of the company that launched this legal endeavour with a PR and marketing blitz. 
    foregoneconclusionpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Anti-steering is standard throughout the e-commerce industry. Amazon, EBay, and Etsy don't allow sellers to communicate alternate places of purchase on their sites and neither do gaming stores like Steam on PC or the Playstation Store on Sony consoles. You basically have to pretend that the average iPhone customer is unaware of what the internet is or that they can access it on their phones in order to think companies don't have alternate ways of communicating different places of purchase.
    StrangeDaysBeatsgeorgie01FileMakerFellerspock1234Fidonet127williamlondonpscooter63jahbladebadmonk
  • Reply 3 of 34
    Is it just me or All of Epics witnesses sound like they are anti capitalism communists? And given Epicnis owned largely by the Chinese communist party through Tencent…. 🤔
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 34

    who benefits the most if Apple goes down besides Epic?



    CHINA
    Beatswilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 34
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,224member
    Said of the company that launched this legal endeavour with a PR and marketing blitz. 
    RIGHT!!! Why not use that money and effort to advertise your options. Why should Apple basically promote competitors on their platform. Is Verizon required to advertise AT&T. Will Epic be advertising Apple Arcade. Heck will they tell them there is a simpler way to signup in the App if they are on their website ready to pay? Um 😟 No.
    Trey_LanceBeatsradarthekatpscooter63jahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 34
    Yes. No iPhone user would ever think to google the name of the app, or discover the website of an obscure company like Epic Freaking Games. 
    Beatsgeorgie01spock1234pscooter63jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 34
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,399member
    Epic is throwing a bunch of "Hail Mary's" at the judge in the hopes that the judge might pick one of them as a "consolation prize" if and when Epic otherwise loses.
    Beatsspock1234jahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 34
    genovelle said:
    Said of the company that launched this legal endeavour with a PR and marketing blitz. 
    RIGHT!!! Why not use that money and effort to advertise your options. Why should Apple basically promote competitors on their platform. Is Verizon required to advertise AT&T. Will Epic be advertising Apple Arcade. Heck will they tell them there is a simpler way to signup in the App if they are on their website ready to pay? Um 😟 No.
    There is one place you would equally promote your competitor, Communism…
    radarthekatwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 34
    Yes. No iPhone user would ever think to google the name of the app, or discover the website of an obscure company like Epic Freaking Games. 
    Yes Epic think people are stupid but they are really trying to swindle kids. These people are low life scum
    radarthekatd.j. adequatewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 34
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,428member
    ALL companies, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Adobe and even copycats like Sony and Microsoft need to speak up against Epic. This is dangerous for their businesses.

    If an idiotic judge(knock on wood) mandates that companies need to advertise 3rd party alternatives this could cost companies their livelihood.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 11 of 34
    omasouomasou Posts: 169member
    Why is this a problem? I purchase my Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max subscriptions outside iOS and setup my payments on each platform. Apple get 0% of these subscriptions.

    In fact, I have to configure most of my Netflix account settings on the web site b/c they are not available through the app.

    Just buy the VBuck via Epic's site. Sounds like their lawyers are asking for a solution where a problem doesn't exist. Oh wait, if I'm too stupid to know that I can buy VBuck directly from Epic. OK, got me there.
    edited May 11 georgie01spock1234d.j. adequatewatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 34
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,268member
    Did they actually just claim consumers don’t know how to get an App on another platform?

    So if I’m using Spotify on iOS and I want to get it on Android I can’t just go to Google Play and search for “Spotify”?

    how could someone say this with a straight face?
    Beatsspock1234radarthekatpscooter63d.j. adequatewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 34
    Beats said:
    ALL companies, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Adobe and even copycats like Sony and Microsoft need to speak up against Epic. This is dangerous for their businesses.

    If an idiotic judge(knock on wood) mandates that companies need to advertise 3rd party alternatives this could cost companies their livelihood.
    Microsoft wants to lose so they can stick their other products into IOS in a free for all. That is their game
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 34
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,428member
    Beats said:
    ALL companies, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Adobe and even copycats like Sony and Microsoft need to speak up against Epic. This is dangerous for their businesses.

    If an idiotic judge(knock on wood) mandates that companies need to advertise 3rd party alternatives this could cost companies their livelihood.
    Microsoft wants to lose so they can stick their other products into IOS in a free for all. That is their game

    Ahhh... I see. 
  • Reply 15 of 34
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,835member
    Advertise. Web ads. Google search ads. Tv commercial. Podcast ads. Twitch ads. YouTube ads. they are just too lazy to do it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 34
    I think Apple shouldn't be able to block developers from telling users within the app what the rules are, but I agree that there are alternative sources of that information and it's a fine line between explaining the rules and encouraging people to bypass them. Overall it seems like Apple has a winning position in this suit.
    Beatsradarthekatpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 34
    I think Apple shouldn't be able to block developers from telling users within the app what the rules are, but I agree that there are alternative sources of that information and it's a fine line between explaining the rules and encouraging people to bypass them. Overall it seems like Apple has a winning position in this suit.
    When you shop at Walmart for an oven, do they have a sign telling you the same over is $10 cheaper at Costco? Have people lost their minds and common sense?
    radarthekatd.j. adequatespock1234applguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 34
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 4,010member

    In response, Evans said that this solution would work "for the time being," since it would diminish but not eliminate Apple's alleged market power. He added that the solution wouldn't be possible for apps that don't have a website or web version, or for consumers without easy access to a computer.


    So consumers can have access to a smartphone, but no easy access to a computer? Isn't the smartphone itself a computer? I wonder which smartphones he is thinking about, that do not have web browsers.

    I am able to go to the Amazon website on my iPhone and purchase an e-book for Kindle, even though I cannot directly buy an e-book on my Amazon app. 
    edited May 12 Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 34
    spock1234spock1234 Posts: 98member
    What next? Requiring Walmart to notify customers that their item is available at Target for $0.50 less!??

    Why should Apple allow Developers to advertise other App stores on their platform for free? If Epic wants to do that, they should just buy a damn ad. Freeloading $hitheads!
    edited May 12 radarthekatBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 34
    hammeroftruthhammeroftruth Posts: 1,050member
    So far this is this is playing out like an entitled kid whining that he has to share. The judge isn’t buying Epic’s rant so far. If Epic wants to win, they better come up with something that makes Apple look like they hurt them, when so far it looks like Epic was just inconvenienced. That doesn’t give them the right to break their contract with Apple as a developer. 
    Beats
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