Wednesday marked the eighth day in what is expected to be a three-week-long antitrust trial between Fortnite developer Epic Games and iPhone maker Apple in California. On Tuesday, the focus was on Apple’s anti-steering policies (check out this story for more details) tied to the Apple App Store which forbids advertising alternate means to purchase products or services within apps.
On Wednesday, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers seemed to indicate that there could be a compromise in removing anti-steering provisions, thereby giving companies like Epic the ability to promote/sell content or virtual currency directly from their games.
At one point during his testimony Wednesday, Rogers asked Apple expert witness and MIT professor Richard Schmalensee what would be so bad about consumers having additional purchasing options, such as the one Apple rejected in 2012 when Microsoft asked that its Office suite be provided via the web, even offering to pay the 30% to the platform owner.
“If the app vendor can say if you press this button you can buy this for less, that means the App Store can’t collect its commission,” Schmalensee responded, noting that it would be undercutting Apple App Store sales.
Other interesting facts coming out of the trial is the revelation that Epic was trying to bring Sony IP to the Epic Game Store, offering to pay up to $200M USD to exclusively carry four to six first-party titles. The revelation came to light thanks to a 222-page document from Epic, which also revealed that Microsoft was not interested in working with Epic, and that it was also in talks with Valve founder Gabe Newell related to Microsoft’s Game Pass on Steam. One other interesting tidbit: Microsoft was requiring indie developers who received Xbox Series X TLAs to sign up for its Xcloud service.
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