back to article This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook faced surprisingly tough questioning from judge

Apple CEO Tim Cook testified in defense of his company on Friday in an effort to retain control over its iOS ecosystem, deflecting tough questions from US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. Last August, Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, sued Apple alleging that the iPhone maker illegally monopolizes iOS app distribution and …

  1. overunder Silver badge

    Consoled opinion.

    Being able to buy something on a game console seems more like an opinionated choice rather than any fact or fiction that relates to the operations of the iOS store regardless if the people "users" are aware of the option.

    Apple's entire defense know resembles Regan's "I do not recall" testimony. Strangely, all of Apple's witnesses are liars, but here's the thing: Would you rather be found looking greedy or like a liar? Either way it's not a good look, but at least if you're found looking greedy you can keep your honesty. But found as a liar, well, you keep nothing and can't be trusted with anything.

    At this point Apple should just set the fee to 0% and roll with it, see how it goes. If any company should be able to endure the tide, it should be a TRILLION dollar company right? Shit, Domino's Pizza pulled off "30 minutes or less" for decades, surely Apple can go a bit with a 0% fee.

    1. martyn.hare
      Thumb Up

      Another way

      Allow people to unlock their phone (jailbreak) for full functionality but set a flag in Secure Enclave to indicate this has been done; then allow it to operate with the ability to side load unconditionally. This flag would be easily detectable by apps as the phone being jailbroken and apps/services which do not want to run on jailbroken phones can then refuse to operate.

      Epic gets their third party store and nobody will use it just like how nobody uses EGS on PC today.

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: Another way

        "Epic gets their third party store and nobody will use it just like how nobody uses EGS on PC today." That may be true. The popular stores seem to be Steam and GOG which if Epic win could well support IOS.

        Some people must use the Epic store to install Fortnite on the PC. :)

      2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: Another way

        Run the apps in their own enclave.

        Wait, that is how it should already be!

    2. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

      Re: Consoled opinion.

      I'd rather they be thrown in jail for perjury.

      I find it VERY difficult to believe that the CEO of apple isn't aware of how much google paid for being the default search engine, or for knowing how profitrable the itunes store is. If he's really able to be convincing about not knowing then he should no longer be CEO. After all that is a major contract and knowing how profitable divisions are are key things for a CEO

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Consoled opinion.

        It's quite possible that he didn't know it accurately enough.

        The problem with being asked for numbers in court is that you have to surround such statements with a boatload of caveats in case you get it wrong or you'll be accused of not telling the truth in court.

        It suggests that Tim Cook had been prepped for other questions instead - and it's very much possible that he has maybe even actively avoided that data. After all, part of these court games is to extract competitive data and with the amount of money that Apple makes, everyone naturally wants to help themselves to a slice if possible.

  2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

    At a minimum Apple should not be able to stop apps from alerting users to alternate and possibly cheaper methods of payment/subscription.

    Unfortunately, the question about bank apps probably has Tim Cook trying to figure out how to get a cut of all app-initiated bank transfers.

    1. chuBb. Silver badge

      He's not a competent enough jobs puppet to do that, thank fuck musk wasn't offered the jurb.

    2. thondwe

      Bank Apps

      I did like the Judge picking up on Bank Apps being free - I can also pay for many other things with Apps - car parking, daughters school meal accounts... Only games with this restriction?

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Bank Apps

        Completely irrelevant. They chose a certain pricing model. Game companies then chose a pricing model, as did banks, in relationship to Apple's model. The fact that banks chose the completely free route is appropriate to their business.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Bank Apps

          So your bank doesn't charge you for any service at all?

          No transaction fee when sending money to another account?

          No annual subscription fee to use their digital services?

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

      Re: When speaking to a Judge, avoid saying:

      For a CEO the first 2 should receive a perjury charge and the last one should require the resignation the next day

    2. General Purpose Bronze badge

      Re: When speaking to a Judge, avoid saying:

      When speaking to a judge, if you don't remember then say so.

      As a witness, I've truthfully said "I don't remember". When the QC kept pushing me, the judge told him "if he doesn't remember, he doesn't remember." I think that judge knew something about how memory works.

      1. hedge

        I apologise for my previous comment.

    3. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      Re: When speaking to a Judge, avoid saying:

      Tim Cook obviously watched Nicola Sturgeon's performance in front of the inquiry.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When speaking to a Judge, avoid saying:

      Don't see how you can think that's a good idea, given how often powerful people with very expensive lawyers have repeatedly done so throughout history. Surely they know something you don't.

      1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: When speaking to a Judge, avoid saying:

        > Surely they know something you don't.

        But when I ask them what it is they just say "I don't remember"

  4. Falmari Silver badge

    Apple's to lose

    I read the report on the BBC yesterday and it stated that Cook came across as evasive and vague and this article seems to support that view.

    He did not know if the App Store made a profit only a "feeling" that it was profitable. How can you run a business if you don’t know if the business strategy you implement is making a profit or costing the business money? There is no way Cook does not know how much profit the App Store is making.

    Quote from the BBC Article https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-57199547

    “Most experts believe this is Apple's to lose but anti-trust cases are notoriously difficult to predict.” My views on the App Store aside if Apple do lose it will be down to them with their poor performance in court.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Apple's to lose

      He did not know if the App Store made a profit only a "feeling" that it was profitable.

      Tell me Mr Cook, is your bonus linked to the profitability of the App Store, and how much bonus did you get last year? Was it a good year, in bonus terms?

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: Apple's to lose

        Cook will reply he does not know how much bonus he got last year only a feeling he got a bonus. ;)

        From the article "Cook replied that Apple charges for digital transactions and that's simply the business model it has chosen." But Cook has no idea how profitable that business model has been not even a ballpark figure. Does not know if it is even making a profit or a loss.

        What do they do at Apple to make business decisions if they don't use real data like cost profit loss; a Ouija board, 6 d10 dice, a sheep's stomach entrails. I am sure we would all like to know because what ever it is it really works seeing how successful Apple are.

        Or maybe and this is how the court will see it I not going to tell you because it will look bad for Apple's case.

        So all you contractors out there next time the tax office wants to know how much you earned the answer is I don't know how much but I have a feeling I made a profit. Works for Apple.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Works for Apple

          That's what we're going to find out.

          All this is The Zucks' fault. He has set precedent in not knowing anything about his company and passed with flying colors and no consequences, so why not do the same ?

          Personally, if I were judge and the CEO of a trillion-dollar company stands before me and doesn't know anything on the subject that the Court has specifically been talking about for a week, I would slap him with contempt of Court and jail him until he remembers.

          Good thing for Cook that I'm not a judge.

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Works for Apple

            @Pascal

            In Zuckerborg's case, I would settle for just watching somebody slapping him.

            Daily, for several years and with a wet halibut.

            1. iron Silver badge

              Re: Works for Apple

              That would be enjoyable but think how much more satidfying it would be to do the slapping. We could sell tickets, we might make even more money than Facebook!

              1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

                Re: Works for Apple

                >We could sell tickets

                But Apple would somehow still get their cut.

            2. TimMaher Silver badge
              Trollface

              Wet halibut

              Monty Python!

              Yaayyy!!!!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Works for Apple

            I suspect the reality is: he knows the figure. He really, really doesn't want to make it public. He's not allowed to say "I am not going to tell you", so the best he can plausibly do is "I don't remember".

            1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

              Re: Works for Apple

              And I am certain he knows exactly what the deal with Google is and whether it is worth more or less than $10bn to Apple.

              Given Googles status as a primary competitor and the size of the deal I don't think a minion would have made the final decision on that arrangement.

          3. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Works for Apple

            > All this is The Zucks' fault. He has set precedent in not knowing anything about his company and passed with flying colors and no consequences, so why not do the same ?

            It might sound strange that the Big Boss has no clue of what's going on in his company, but it's not illegal, and the "I deny anything until you manage to prove it" trick is an old and battle-proven defense strategy, so why not use it?

            It's the first thing any lawyer tells you: Don't admit anything, don't volunteer any information. Stonewall as much as you can without triggering a "contempt of court" charge.

            1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

              Re: Works for Apple

              If you are poor and say that to the judge, you will be held in contempt of the court, and if under oath, it is also perjury.

              You can, of course, choose no to say anything, and use the 5th, and that is exactly what he should be doing.

              Lying to the judge is not a good idea, and does not put you on good terms, and of course, do not do this if you are poor, as perjury charges might be pressed.

              In this case, a prosecutor should be able to subpoena Apple for his emails and prove perjury. Won´t happen.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Works for Apple

                Use the 5th ??

                This isn't a criminal trial.

            2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

              Oh I get the strategy.

              But a week into the trial on that specific issue and you don't have a clue ?

              Pull the other one.

              That's contempt, no doubt about it.

              1. ThatOne Silver badge

                > That's contempt, no doubt about it.

                It's only contempt if the judge decides it is. The strategy is to stonewall without pissing the judge off. Don't forget the judges expect this to happen, it's not their first trial.

                A judge is only there to arbitrate, so he usually will tolerate both sides' strategies as long as they don't obstruct the proceedings too much.

                And your lawyers will obviously adapt their strategy to the temperament of the judge in charge. That is, when they can not choose which judge will officiate. We all know about those trials taking place in the most surprising places because the local judge is more likely to be favorable to your cause...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple's to lose

        Tim Cook's yearly bonus is a matter of public record. If you care to look at the published accounts, it is all there.

        How much of that bouns was down to the App Store would be very difficult to determine unless you had full access to the companies books and no judge worth their salt would order those opened up in discovery. There is are too much dirty laundry in them to be made public.

        Believe me, the Epic CEO would make them public if it got him a slot on Fox News.

        Besides, if he got access to Apple's detailed books, then it only stands to reason that Apple would get the same access to Epic's detailed books. Tim Sweeny may not want that to happen for the very same reasons that Tom Cook would not want Apple's books opened up.

        IANAL but I have been involved with a lawsuit not too dissimilar to this.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Apple's to lose

      only a "feeling" that it was profitable.

      I couldn't find the 'vomit' icon, so I'll use this one instead...

  5. Magani
    FAIL

    Dept of Corrections and Clarifications

    In a previous edition, we printed, "Cooke made clear that Apple's interpretation of user needs took precedent over placating developers.".

    This should have said, "Cooke made clear that Apple's bottom line needs took precedent over placating developers."

    1. Tomato Krill

      Re: Dept of Corrections and Clarifications

      Well top line you mean - they don’t actually know if they make a profit

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: Dept of Corrections and Clarifications

      This is basically true for any software publishing company. Developers represent a miniscule percentage of income compared to end users. We (developers) like it when companies listen to our feedback and like it even more when they act on it, but you know as well as I do that 90% of the time they ignore us.

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "Apple's interpretation of user needs took precedent"

    "Apple's interpretation" of a wide range of "user needs" seems to involve plugging their ears and singing "la la la I can't hear you".

    Interesting to be a fly on the wall in Apple's boardroom if Apple lose. "So Tim, you have no idea whether such an important division of Apple makes a profit."

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: "Apple's interpretation of user needs took precedent"

      I would just like to bring to the courts attention the late Apple CEO's reply when being asked by users about a problem with the antenna on one of the old iPhones. "You're holding it wrong!"

      Yep User Needs are definitely at the forefront of Apple's thinking...

  7. Precordial thump

    content intended to be offensive,

    insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, in exceptionally poor taste, or just plain creepy is disallowed

    And yet you can still download the faecebook app...

  8. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    liar, cheat and a skinflint

    He could never spend all of his money, and yet is lying to keep it coming, maybe he's a miser?

    In the end he's using the Vinnie Barbarino defense... Whuh? Where? who?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

    Firstly I am not an apple user, I have no shares or know anyone working for the company and do not own any of their devices. From previous posts here on this subject it has been clear that there are some who are blindly against Apple having a business.

    I personally see that Apple's 30% tax on purchaes via their products as being on a par with every other US business with a captive audience.

    Whilst many here want to see Apple punished for acting just like every other US company, I see no difference between Apple's behaviour and those who bitching about Apple's tax.

    If the US courts were ruling to address the amount of vig every company adds on to their costs then I would cheer but this particular issue is about whether a company that signed an agreement, with full knowledge of the implication, to accept a 30% charge to trade in Apples wall garden want to renege.

    If I signed up to a service and then reneged about what I agreed to pay for access then who would listen, if it went to court they would hold up the contract and say "is this your agreement to the contract? yes then you have no case."

    I will not argue if the charge is representative of Apple's actual costs because the reality is that the charge is always going to be what the market will bear just like it is for every other company that wants to stay in the black and in business.

    Now if a number of Apple users said "the charge is too high I refuse to pay it anymore" then I would cheer them on happily but that isn't what is happening here, even EPIC has not gone for this option.

    Instead EPIC has demanded that Apple give away access to their customers for free, name me one company willing to give up their client list and so their business because that is what EPIC is demanding.

    No matter how you might feel about Apple's company practices it must be agreed that they have had a significant impact on computing, mobile communications and RISC CPU usage the same cannot be said for EPIC who seem to think they should be allowed to leech off companies that spent money to create the market they are refusing to pay towards.

    Yes EPIC produced some good games but each time someone else had to research and design the hardware their products ran on, and each time they had to pay for access to hardware, how is this time different? Every time they sell their games someone takes a cut so why pick upon Apple. I would agree that Apple make a lot of money but they have shareholders who demand they do just that, Apple have used US business law to limit competition show me a big US company who hasn't. Apple's main contributions to the advancement of technology were soem time ago but it cannot be said that they didnt invest and so deserve a fair return on the much copied market they created.

    I would not buy an Apple product but not because their business practices are worse than other the other US company's, I will not buy in because their hardware is limited to what they can control.

    Something that EPIC were aware of when they signed up with Apple who they now want to cut out of their own market.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

      Compared to how things used to be, 70% of revenue for a developer is pretty amazing. Apple created an easy way for developers to self-publish their products in the single place where every user looks for new applications.

      Back in the day, a games developer needed a publisher, or an agreement with a distributor to get things in the shops. With the publisher managing production, sales, distribution, and marketing, the developer might get 10% of the sale price - and that would be after the publisher had recouped any up front development costs. (If I remember correctly, the shop and taxes took about 45% of the purchase price, the distributor took 15%, and the publisher paid as little as possible of what was left to the developer. Some developers were lucky to see 5%. The very best AAA studios might get 12%.)

      People can whinge and moan about 30%, but to be honest it's not a bad deal.

      It might be nice if it were a tiered percentage based on annual revenue, but even then I'm sure people would still moan.

      The bigger problem here really is the on-going race to the bottom of free to play games that then come loaded with in-app purchases. If developers stopped playing this bullshit game and just sold games for a one off price again they wouldn't have to care about how much Apple are making from each in-app payment.

      1. mevets Bronze badge

        Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

        2003 called, and wants 30% of your argument....

        It was a good deal in 2003; at that point paypal was still a bit dodgy, and many people had fortified themselves with throwaway credit cards for online transactions, or other dubious defenses. That is not now.

        From what I read, I can't figure out where the apple hegemony ends. In Canada, we have a typically Canadian department store called Canadian Tire. They sell more than tires, but the explanation is, well, tiresome. Canadian Tire give store credit for purchases in the form of Canadian Tire Money, which can be used in the store.

        If there were a Canadian Tire Shopping App, through which I ordered tires (ok, I need tires), would Apple get 30% of the transaction?

        Since Canadian Tire refunds 2% in Canadian Tire Money if I don't use a credit card, does that mean that Apple gets 30% of that 2%?

        Is Apple sitting on an enormous horde of Canadian Tire Money?

        The whole thing makes little sense -- I get the management overhead of the app store, validation, lobster bisque, yada yada yada; but how buying credits within a game to unlock weird crap no reasonable person could give a shit about is subject to a 30% tax is kinda bizarre, even for Apple.

        Please, if anyone has a description of this that doesn't make the recipient want to kill themselves, please followup here.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

          @ mevets &"2003 called, and wants 30% of your argument...."

          For saying how many middle men have been removed during this period the price for softwarestrangely has not gone down, suggesting that software houses are taking that cut for themselves rather than passing on via lower purchase cost on to the customer.

          I could talk about book publishing or the music and movie industry and say that they too have not dropped their prices even though they are now distributing direct to the customer.

          I would suggest that the price that people are willing to pay for these products is far in excess of what the products costs to make and that even after all the middle men have been remove the software houses continue to charge the same and keep the profits rather than reward their customer for their loyality.

          So if the price to the customer is not going to go down when middlemen are removed then what's in it for me, the paying customer, if EPIC are allowed to stop paying Apple. Add in that Apple need money to keep their production going where EPIC have already paid all their costs for making this product and are still not satisfied and demand a reduction in overhead on their micro transactions.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

            Most of this is wrong.

            "For saying how many middle men have been removed during this period the price for softwarestrangely has not gone down, suggesting that software houses are taking that cut for themselves rather than passing on via lower purchase cost on to the customer."

            This would be hard to get a study on, but anecdotally, I think prices have come down quite a lot. Software purchases in the 1990s were often more expensive for relatively simple software, whereas a lot of software today is free or cheap. I also remember the purchases of software upgrades, which were often rather expensive when you consider that they were usually fixing bugs in the thing I already bought. That still happens on occasion, but a lot of places now view that as maintenance of a product they've already sold and include bugfix updates. Is that because the commissions came down, maybe, but probably not. Is it because there are more people writing it, probably. Is it because they've expanded their business models so less comes via the original purchase price, definitely. But still, if you asked me, I would say that there is a lot more cheap software out there.

            "I could talk about book publishing or the music and movie industry and say that they too have not dropped their prices even though they are now distributing direct to the customer."

            Well, they're usually not distributing direct to the customer. Also, I think prices have come down. For example, you can watch a lot of movies on a streaming service for a price which would have gotten a small number of rentals, and rentals for a short period. Whether that's the way you choose to spend your movie budget is another story, but it is a price and it is lower.

            "I would suggest that the price that people are willing to pay for these products is far in excess of what the products costs to make and that even after all the middle men have been remove the software houses continue to charge the same and keep the profits rather than reward their customer for their loyality."

            Doesn't matter to me. I don't need to be rewarded for my loyalty. If I still want the product, I will still buy it. If they cut their prices, so much the better for me. If a competitor creates an alternative which is cheaper, I might go over to them to take advantage of those. You seem to expect that companies will just cut their prices for no reason and somehow you feel you are entitled to this whereas Apple don't have to cut their prices. I don't get it.

            "Add in that Apple need money to keep their production going where EPIC have already paid all their costs for making this product and are still not satisfied and demand a reduction in overhead on their micro transactions."

            Apple do not need money to pay for their production. They get that from sales. The product concerned is not theirs. It is Epic's, and the value to the customer comes from what Epic provides those who choose to pay. Also, they don't demand that Apple gives them more money on their transactions, since they're more than willing to use their own transaction system and relieve Apple both of the commission and the required labor in managing the transaction.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

              @"This would be hard to get a study on, but anecdotally, I think prices have come down quite a lot."

              I disagree, only hardware prices have come down and trying to include software that is part of a different purchase as being in someway part of the same market as FOSS is disengenious. FOSS is seperate from "free apps" that are provided with hardware or part of another purchase because FOSS doesn't charge at all even if you dont buy anything. It is like the old joke about going to a store and taking the "free" item from a 3 for 2 offer, same for "bugfixes" being charged. Microsoft managed to keep selling "upgraded" versions of their software that contained significant chunks of code that users has already purchased. I was referring to general cost of software when sold by big business where they use the same model as the music and movie industry and charge the max the market will bear. That they then use the massive profits to buy out or crush those not using the big business model means that prices have continued to increase even when most of their products contain nothing new at all.

              @"Well, they're usually not distributing direct to the customer. Also, I think prices have come down. For example, you can watch a lot of movies on a streaming service for a price which would have gotten a small number of rentals, and rentals for a short period. Whether that's the way you choose to spend your movie budget is another story, but it is a price and it is lower."

              Disneyplus (movie productor) is an example of the way things are going, so whilst you say things are cheaper I say compared with say DVD the reality is that the majority of content on streamed services would have been sold as a DVD at a fraction of the cost for new releases. In effect charging the majority of the customers for access to content they have already purchased in one form or another thus overall old movies are padding to justify the cost for access to newer movies.

              @"Doesn't matter to me. I don't need to be rewarded for my loyalty. If I still want the product, I will still buy it. " again you are confusing the actual situation for most purchases, by not recognised why you want the product even though you have seen and purchased it all before. With all these markets people purchase based upon marketting methods like showing select content from the product to suggest that it is better than it typically is in it's entirety and you purchased based upon what they have allowed you to see of the product. I mentioned shareware in my original post because when it started you got the full software missing only items that were a fair extension of the same theme. In effect you got to use the product before buying and decide if it was actually worth what they wanted to charge, this has give way to movie marketting where you often purchase something based upon lies.

              @"Apple do not need money to pay for their production. They get that from sales. The product concerned is not theirs. It is Epic's, and the value to the customer comes from what Epic provides those who choose to pay. Also, they don't demand that Apple gives them more money on their transactions, since they're more than willing to use their own transaction system and relieve Apple both of the commission and the required labor in managing the transaction."

              OFC Apple need money to pay for production either shifting internal funds or via borrowing. The later costs more and is related to how the lender sees Apple's potential to return the loan. EPIC also have the same model but since they do not have to maintain a hardware platform as well then EPIC get charged to sell to the customers who purchased from apple the apple system.

              Do you believe that Apple are incapable of producing a game like fortnite? given that the vast majority of this game is not original then Apple could do just as EPIC have and knock up their own version and sell it on their market. That they do not is simply because it is cheaper to let a third party pay them for access to their market than take the risk of producting th econtent themselves. In the same way EPIC have enough money to make their own hardware and market but do not wish to take the risk when they can just sell software and keep what profits come from that.

              Like I said originally Apple have done much for hardware developement and that cost money, if you are saying that previous innovation, that has already returned an ample profit paid for should not be allowed to dictate control of a market then I would agree with you but that is not what I am see here or in law. I am seeing people blindly opposed to Apple, some because of true past expereince but I would suggest a significant percentage doing so because they are paid to in one form or another.

              So unless patents and copywrite become limited to a "fair profit" then it comes down to who you want to see profitting the most. I have paid EPIC for their products in the past, I would not pay apple for theirs but in terms of honesty and fair play EPIC IMHO are the bad guys here. They agreed to do one thing and did the opposite, all the bad stuff you can say about Apple did not stop EPIC signing their contract with them so either Apple have changed the contract or EPIC signed up in order to cheat Apple out of their agreed share. Using politics and spreading lies about your business partner should not be promoted in business unless you want chaos and the associated additional costs to doing business, that is what EPIC chose to do without regard for the impact it would have on their customers and partners.

            2. ThatOne Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

              > I think prices have come down quite a lot.

              Being somebody who's been buying computers and software since the late 80ies, I'm sure prices have gone up, and you get less for your money too. Take PC games for instance: Back in the start of the century you would pay at most $40 for the latest blockbuster in a glossy cardboard box, with a printed manual and other stuff (maps, reference sheets, goodies). Today you get at best a disk in a crappy DVD case, if it's not just a download, but prices did increase to around $50. Yes, I know, inflation and all, but don't tell me things have gotten cheaper! Most likely you just have more money than back then.

              .

              > Software purchases in the 1990s were often more expensive for relatively simple software, whereas a lot of software today is free or cheap.

              Nonsense: I've got Photoshop LE for free with a scanner, and paid around $20-40 (IIRC) to upgrade it to a Photoshop full license. Try to do that today!

              Today a lot of software is "freemium", that means apparently free, until you try to use it and notice you'll have to spend big money to get even the basic functions working. There was way more truly free (as in "freeware") stuff back then. Fully functioning free software, no strings attached.

      2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

        Taking a one-time 30% (or whatever) cut of the initial sale or subscription may be reasonable but taking cuts of all ongoing subscription renewals and purchases is not.

        Yes there are alternative access and payment means, but Apple hides the costs from the end user by forbidding the apps from promoting of alternatives or restricting the pricing of alternatives.

        Make the upfront cost appear low or free to build the market dominance and then put the screws to developers and hide the cost premium from consumers.

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

          From Apple's perspective that wouldn't work. All apps and games would become free overnight and launch as trial versions with a single in-app payment to unlock all functionality.

          Thus reducing Apple's cut to zero (or close to) overnight.

          1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

            Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

            Well, it is how it works for lot of other operating systems...

          2. mevets Bronze badge

            Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

            Who is it again that insists on the app store? The developers? No. The customers? No. Oh right, Apple.

            What ever the decision, the situation is unconcsionable. I am pretty certain it is a violation of the Competition Act in my country; and I am surprised this hasn't been tried in Europe which has even stronger competition laws.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

      This is wrong:

      "Instead EPIC has demanded that Apple give away access to their customers for free, name me one company willing to give up their client list and so their business because that is what EPIC is demanding."

      No, they are not demanding anything of the kind. They have not requested Apple's customer list. They are demanding that they have the option to reach customers of Apple who choose to reach them without Apple interceding. The customers bought the devices, they're no longer Apple's property, and the customers already know Epic's existence and want to use their software. You act as if they want Apple's list of accounts, which they have never requested, and you act like Apple owns the iPhone owners and should have the exclusive right to control and sell access to them. Apple does not have that right.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

        @ double layer and "No, they are not demanding anything of the kind"

        Nothing is stopping EPIC giving their customers additional content, only when EPIC want to charge for the extra content do they come up against their agreement with Apple to give the latter a cut.

        As to obtaining customer details how can you make a financial transaction without giving personal details away, at least with Apple you have already used their store to buy the game then they already have your details, perhaps the difference is overhead on Apple's store is actually more fair than presented given that they make user security a selling point of their products and passing your ID to one more unknown has hidden costs.

        1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

          Imagine if a car manufacturer demanded a commission from your fuel supplier (gas station) every time you fill up your car or had it modified. Just substitute phone for car and that is what Apple is doing.

          >how can you make a financial transaction without giving personal details away,

          By asking the customer directly, like in every other online purchase. We already pay a 2% or so commission to credit card companies for this.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

          "As to obtaining customer details how can you make a financial transaction without giving personal details away,"

          They get payment information from the customer, just like every other time you buy something. They would ask for that information from those who want to buy things, not from Apple. They are thus not demanding any of Apple's records and the original point is still wrong.

    3. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

      @AC “No matter how you might feel about Apple's company practices it must be agreed that they have had a significant impact on computing, mobile communications and RISC CPU usage the same cannot be said for EPIC who seem to think they should be allowed to leech off companies that spent money to create the market they are refusing to pay towards.”

      So, what you are saying is that all software companies are leaches. Buy WoW or Photoshop to run on a Mac, Blizzard and Adobe must be leaches for not paying monies to Apple and let us not forget the chip maker Intel where their monies. Same can be said if those purchases were for say a Dell PC should not Dell the chip maker even Microsoft get a cut.

      On IOS should not Arm be getting a cut the chip is based on Arm’s design?

      Or maybe it is Apple who are the leaches they design and build a device and are amply rewarded for it by the buyer of the device. But they want to continue to extort money from owners of those devices buy charging them 30% for every piece of software they buy.

      "Instead EPIC has demanded that Apple give away access to their customers for free, name me one company willing to give up their client list and so their business because that is what EPIC is demanding."

      But I am not Apple's customer I am Epic's customer I am buying their software. If there are problems with it I go back to Epic to fix it. When I buy software I am the software companies customer not the device makers customer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

        "On IOS should not Arm be getting a cut the chip is based on Arm’s design?"

        I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure ARM gets a fee for every chip Apple sells in one of their devices. ARM are already getting paid

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

          Yes they do. Apple are long time architecture licensees of Arm.

        2. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

          So are Apple they are get paid for every device sold. So Apple are already getting paid.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

        @Falmari and "So, what you are saying is that all software companies are leaches"

        No I am saying that unlike hardware where every sale has an actual manufacturing, fabrication, licensing IP etc cost against software once written having much lower overheads, the difference between just media duplication and marketting against maintaining an OS and paying for frabrication of a physical device and all that entails.

        EPIC want a reduced overhead on their microtransactions, for their pay to win or dress the dolly, money spinner that gamers are already bored of because too many software houses are selling half a game so they can keep whipping money out of the original sale when it was not discounted relative to the missing content.

        Shareware fwas okay it gave you the complete game binary but ommited maps and more powerful weapons required on the advanced maps. Selling half a game at full price is a pizztake and EPIC are complaining because they are having to pay Apple too much to keep whipping the horse

        In terms of R&D hardware manufacturers have to do much more and at much higher levels of expertise and shell out for other company's IP. How much of fortnite is actuall novel and how much is rehashing other people's products. Yes EPIC have made significant contributions to gaming innovation in the past but not for decades and I am finding it very hard to see anything new in Fortnite that hasn't been done over and again before by people who are also not getting a cut.

        So whilst I can understand your loyality to this particular game, without someone else making the hardware this game could not exist, given that EPIC clearly are unwilling to either make their own hardware or pay Apple's price for access to Apple's market which helps fund the next apple device.

        Having seen gaming software houses whipping up support for their products inorder to win some awards then I can understand if you were taken in by their markteting but the fact remains that EPIC signed a contract and broke their word to abide by the contract and are using political arguements to distract from their untrustworthiness.

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

          @AC "No I am saying that unlike hardware where every sale has an actual manufacturing, fabrication, licensing IP etc cost against software once written having much lower overheads, the difference between just media duplication and marketting against maintaining an OS and paying for frabrication of a physical device and all that entails.".

          That is true for all software companies no matter what hardware and OS they develop software for.

          "Selling half a game at full price is a pizztake" I agree but Apple bumping the price up by taking a 30% cut does not make it any less of a pisstake. It is just a more expensive pisstake as now Apple are also taking the piss.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

            All US big business takes the piss, if this case was actually about changing that then I would support it with it but it isn't, nor do I believe that any award being given to EPIC is going to change the business market in the US or profit anyone but lawyers.

            It is a targetted attack on Apple for doing what and the law and shareholders require, if the management didn't then chances are the shareholders would get rid of them and put someone in who would right or wrong.

            Apple are not soley to blaim for US business practies and law, Apple in this instance followed the law, it is EPIC who did not.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

          The software developer does not owe the hardware developer anything. The user buys the hardware, paying what the company charges for it. The user buys the software, paying what the software developer charges. If the software developer has to license something from the hardware developer, they've already done that.

          If Microsoft spends a bunch of money developing something interesting, and you write a program which runs on Windows, it is not your responsibility to pay for their development time. If they want you to, they can charge you a license fee to use their interesting thing and you can decide whether to pay it or not use their thing. If it has nothing to do with you, then you don't pay for it and they'll have to get their revenue from somewhere else. If they choose to give it away for free, then you still have no responsibility to pay for it. The same applies to Apple. They choose to do R&D based on their own interests: selling new devices and keeping people on their platform. If it works for them, that's where the money comes from to pay for the work. If it fails, too bad for them. They choose to spend the money, they have to make the money. You cannot force software developers to pay for anything Apple does.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

            @"you cannot force software developers to pay for anything Apple does."

            Unless the software house agrees to pay Apple to do exactly that and is what happened here.

            Clearly EPIC felt the risk of making a profit and paying apple for the priviledge was greater than not paying apple and not making a profit on Apple products so EPIC signed Apples contract and now want to use politics and slander to hide the fact that they broke their promise

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

              Epic are arguing that the contract is illegal due to existing anti-monopoly law. That is a legitimate argument, and if the courts agree with it, then it is Apple who committed a violation. I don't like that Epic chose to break the contract, but the complexity of the legal system often requires a breech of contract in order to establish standing for a case that the contract violates the law. They could always change that to make such actions easier, but they haven't yet done so.

              More importantly, the arguments for Epic and for Apple have a strange asymmetry. The argument for Epic is that Apple is using large market power, which they have, to constrain their customers in a way which has been seen repeatedly, whereas the argument for Apple is that Apple are owed things for [insert something Apple developed]. The law does not agree with you that Apple is owed merely for having decided to develop something, whereas it does have a place for recognizing abuse of market power. In that respect, Epic's argument makes more legal sense. Apple and those who think they are in the right would do well to counter that argument on its merits, namely whether they are actually constraining their customers and whether alternatives to their market exist to a reasonable extent. Sadly, they have also taken to throwing irrelevant arguments at the wall, including the argument that they are great people with an unusual right to get automatic rights of rent collection on anything at all related to their platform or its users. It is not helping their point.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hardware Lockin and Appstore taxes

                @ doublelayer and "Epic are arguing that the contract is illegal due to existing anti-monopoly law"

                I will not attempt to argue the validity US legal system as I like to keep irrational thinking to a minimum but I will say that I do not beieve that anything will come of the legal action. Simply because it would open a hole for litigation against all the other US walled gardens and they can afford to buy the verdict that suits them best.

                As I said right at the start I do not have a dog in this race but I did find the Apple bad to the core posts earlier in this thread and others on this case offensive. Apple are just like every other US company and unlike many have actually had a positive influence on computing in the past and for me Apple's star was always Woz not Jobbs.

  10. ThatOne Silver badge
    WTF?

    Shades of "tough"

    > Tim Cook faced surprisingly tough questioning from judge

    Why, because there was no champagne and caviar canapes?

    Sorry, but as far as I read, this doesn't sound as a "tough" questioning to me. (Unless you mean the fact the judge rudely insisted on asking questions instead of admitting that Cook is way above human justice.)

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Shades of "tough"

      The problem with the judge's questions is that they sound like trolling. Characterising the free/paid split as "payment apps subsidising Wells Fargo" is just puerile. And I don't even like Apple.

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: Shades of "tough"

        @Robert Grant "Characterising the free/paid split as "payment apps subsidising Wells Fargo" is just puerile."

        But that is exactly what is happening the paid apps are subsidising the free apps.

        Whatever the costs to having an app on Apple's store are the same for both free or paid. So if the store makes a profit the paid apps are covering the costs of the free apps that to me is subsidising.

  11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Cooke need s a better "prep" lawyer.

    "I’m not familiar with the document you are referencing"

    The document being referred to is in evidence, which both sides have access to. It's been brought up in the case already. If Tim Apple wasn't aware if, then he should be sacking his legal advisor,

  12. xyz123

    So Apple's entire defence can be summed up in 3 points:

    1) I don't know the answer to that question - indicating Tim Cook should resign as CEO if he doesn't know about the 10 billion dollar deal with Google

    2) Epic has a picture of a banana as a mascot. this is 100% hardcore pornography and is aimed at children your honor therefore EPIC are paedophiles - seriously they said the banana logo is hardcore porn as it doesn't wear pants! and its porn aimed at kids.

    3) Epic is losing money on its own store and we're "protecting" them from losing money - yet if they didn't have to pay 30% to Apple, they'd lose only 70% instead....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Objectionable Content

    App Store Review Guidelines is titled "Objectionable Content" and disallows "content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, in exceptionally poor taste, or just plain creepy."

    Then how can Apple explain this:

    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/daily-mail-newspaper-edition/id579607657

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Then how can Apple explain this:

      Are you pointing out how bad the app reviews are? Or are you saying that the Daily Mail is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, in exceptionally poor taste, or just plain creepy?

      Both.

      Oh, ok.

  14. Snapper

    Ever watched Howard Hughes or read transcripts of Edison in front of a committee? CEO evasion and bad memory are not new.

  15. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    "Monopoly in restraint of trade"

    Both points are critical to make the case. I don't understand that Apple's lawyers are not tramping back & forth over the question of what the relevant market is. There are many ways to define it wherein Apple becomes one of many big players, and more-or-less one in which it is a monopoly.

    It is very far from clear to me that the relevant market is "consumers who have decided to enter Apple's walled garden". I've seen arguments here that the walled garden is effectively a prison--but I have difficulty with that argument.

    The other half is at least as important. In 2006, no one could claim to know how the market would evolve, but the Android ecosystem can hardly be claimed to be better for consumers. Consumer protection is something that everyone but hard core libertarians understand is important for functioning markets, and we're seeing an utter failure on Android's side. If I were Apple's lawyer, I would seriously consider challenging Epic to produce an alternative business model, and then to prove in court that it would be better for the end consumer.

    Epic violated their contract, were booted, and are now crying to the court.

    Cook's claim that he cares about end users rather than developers more-or-less has to be taken at face value. I don't think SDKs and early-access hardware are a significant part of Apple's profits. They may be integral to enabling it, but how to deal with that is a business decision ("Developers! Developers! Developers!")--not some sort of moral or legal imperative.

    As I've said before, Epic has 0 empathy for the end user here. This is a highly successful company trying to grab profit from one of the most successful companies. I have no dog in the fight.

    1. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: "Monopoly in restraint of trade"

      @Claptrap314 You say there are many ways to define what is the relevant market but I can only see 3.

      a) The IOS market.

      b) The phone market.

      c) All devices that play games phones consoles and computers (PC/Mac).

      a) Certainly, a monopoly all Apple. b) I suppose tablets should be included but with or without tablets this looks like a duopoly (Android and IOS) which is the argument Epic are basing their case on. c) If you include consoles you have to include computers and vice versa they both play games and both play Fortnite.

      Now 3 can be classed as many but I suspect you meant more than 3. I am seriously interested what your definitions of relevant markets are as I can well believe I am missing something.

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