Epic Games boss says Apple has “total control” of iPhones on first day of trial

For Stephen Nellis

OAKLAND, USA (Reuters) – The CEO of Epic Games, creator of “Fortnite,” stated on Monday that he knew he was violating Apple Inc.’s App Store rules by putting a payment system within the app last year. past, but I wanted to underscore Apple’s influence on iPhone users around the world, who now number 1 billion.

“I wanted the world to see that Apple has full control over all iOS software, and that it can use that control to deny users access to applications,” said Tim Sweeney, behind a layer of Plexiglas in court. Oakland, California, where Epic began a three-week antitrust trial against Apple.

The lawsuit brings to a head a lawsuit that Epic filed last year that focuses on two Apple practices that are cornerstones of its business: Apple’s demands that virtually all third-party software be distributed through its App Store and for developers to use its purchasing system, which charges commissions of up to 30%.

Epic broke Apple’s rules in August when it introduced its own in-app payment system in “Fortnite” to bypass commissions. In response, the tech giant kicked Epic out of its app store.

Epic sued Apple, claiming that the iPhone maker is abusing its power over app developers with App Store review rules and payment requirements that hurt competition in the software market.

Epic also launched an aggressive public relations campaign to draw attention to their allegations, just as Apple’s practices have come under scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators in the United States and elsewhere.

In the opening statement, Epic’s attorney, Katherine Forrest, stated that Apple has turned its App Store “brick by brick” into a “walled garden” aimed at extracting commissions from developers who want to access the 1 billion iPhone users. from Apple.

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Forrest argued that Apple has locked those users into its ecosystem with apps like iMessage, which allows Apple users to send messages to other devices, but has limited functionality when communicating with Android users.

Apple has countered Epic’s allegations by arguing that its App Store rules have made consumers feel safe opening their wallets to unknown developers, helping to create a mass market that everyone has benefited from.

Apple argues that Epic intentionally broke its contracts with Apple because the game maker wanted not to pay on the iPhone maker’s platform.

In opening arguments for Apple, attorney Karen Dunn noted that Epic is asking the judge to force Apple to allow third-party software to be installed on its phones outside of the App Store, similar to the “side loading” that the Android operating system already allows.

“Epic is asking for government intervention to eliminate an option that consumers currently have,” Dunn told the court.

(Report by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Nathan Frandino in Oakland, Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)

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