Apple Claims Epic Requested a Special Deal

CNBC reports on the legal case between Epic and Apple over royalties on game sales on the Apple Store. They say that Apple presented three emails from Tim Sweeney to the court they say show the Epic CEO requesting a "special deal," something that Sweeney previously denied. Tim tweets that Apple is being misleading, showing his copy of an email showing he said: "We hope that Apple will also make these options equally available to all iOS developers..." Here's word on how Apple characterized this to the court:

“On June 30, 2020, Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney wrote my colleagues and me an email asking for a ‘side letter’ from Apple that would create a special deal for only Epic that would fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform,” former Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller wrote in a declaration. Schiller, whose title is now Fellow, runs Apple’s App Store.

Apple said Sweeney was asking permission for Epic to bypass in-app purchases and allow Fortnite players to pay it directly, as well as permission to launch a third-party app store for iPhones. Schiller said that Sweeney emailed him the morning that Fortnite changed its payment mechanism saying that it “will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions.”

“Because of restrictions imposed by Apple, Epic is unable to provide consumers with certain features in our iOS apps,” Sweeney wrote in the June 30 email titled “Consumer Choice & Competition” produced by Apple. It was sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook as well as Schiller and other top Apple executives.

“Apple would need to provide a side letter or alter its contracts and standards documents to remove such restrictions to allow Epic to provide a competing app store and competing payment processing option to iOS customers,” it continued, although the letter did note that “we hope that Apple will also make these options equally available to all iOS developers.”
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Re: Apple Claims Epic Requested a Special Deal
Aug 25, 2020, 15:27
Verno
 
46.
Re: Apple Claims Epic Requested a Special Deal Aug 25, 2020, 15:27
Aug 25, 2020, 15:27
 Verno
 
jdreyer wrote on Aug 23, 2020, 16:16:
That said, I didn't call you a Nazi supporter. I was pointing out a historical context: both of those (rather recent) regimes thrived on a close relationship between authoritarian governments and corporate conglomerates like the zaibatsu. It was through those relationships that both governments were able to ramp up their war machines and embark in misguided adventures resulting in the deaths of millions. Through mergers and acquisitions and other techniques, American business is steadily consolidating, and that's not a good thing.So this has much less to do with Sweeney, and more to do with the US government's lackadaisical approach to anti-trust and enforcing free markets in general, a problem which has been festering and getting worse for decades. And the reason is that these megacorps donate to both parties, and neither party wants to give up that sweet donation cash by going after these companies. Massive corporations that are able to fleece consumers and control the government are bad for both capitalism and democracy.

"Youre overreacting" "THATS WHAT THE NAZIS WOULD SAY!" But hey you're a good guy and debates get heated so fair enough.

As for keeping devices longer, welcome to the PC industry, where people keep desktops and laptops for years, but those hardware companies don't require vertically integrated walled garden software shops to prop up their hardware business. Quite the opposite: You can get an amazing gaming laptop for less than a new phone due to the robust competition in that market. Market pressures keep companies innovating and prices reasonable.

I'm not sure I agree with the laptop comment, phones serve many purposes in a very compact offering. My last phone was an extravagant $699 and I generally keep my phones for 2-3 years. Do I get $0.60-1.00 worth of daily value out of this amazing portable handheld communications device with the entire worlds knowledge at my finger tips? I'd say so. And the phone market has great offerings at every price level these days, even cheap phones are absolutely fantastic. Since you referenced the free market by the way, you keep leaving out the part where any company with the capital or partnerships can enter the phone marketplace with their own OS, app store and hardware offerings. I don't see how Google and Apple have prevented competitors from entering the marketplace with anti-competitive actions either like your Intel example. What is Apple doing to stop Intel from making a phone, enticing developers and users with attractive offers? What is Google doing to stop its partners from doing the same? What have they done other than have very robust and developed platforms that consumers desire? We've had numerous entrants come, go and come again but it's been largely their lack of execution which has kept users away, not anti-competitive actions by Apple and Google.

It seems like you inherently want the app stores to decouple from their parent platforms but for a variety of reasons I've noted already, I'm not sure how that's entirely possible. They are integrated to such a degree that just saying "oh well App Store is Company B now" ignores all of the technical and other regulatory underpinning, much of which is necessary to provide the product end users expect now. That's why I think decoupling isn't realistic, it's not that I "dont want competition" or something, its that its an inherently different product if its decoupled and I believe some of that would be to the detriment of customers. But I agree that "golly we're just too integrated" is too convenient an excuse for some of these greedy corps so that's why I think some sort of third party mediation in revenue splits is probably a good solution to suit all. Or open up the platform to other stores but have those stores kick up to the parent platform at a reasonable percentage. Zero is not reasonable.

As for user agency, there is none. Apple leveraged an amazing hardware and OS combination into an exclusive vertically integrated walled garden where it rules by fiat. Google gave away its OS for free in order to gain its market share, pushing out Blackberry and MS. There is no agency, because there's no choice. You need a phone, phones need apps, and it's either Apple or Android, that's it.

This is where we will never see eye to eye I guess. You say there is no choice and I say it was direct market choice that lead us here. Developers complained about being able to support multiple platforms and consumers were confused by offerings and so the market solidified around the best platforms. I didn't buy a Windows Phone because I didn't like it, they didn't have a competitive offering when I weighed them against the competition. I don't see an unhealthy market at the moment either, there is an abundance of choice for consumers at every price range in hardware and on the app side of things. In fact the largest complaint I hear from the dev side of things is a missed opportunity for your argument - discoverability. That's where multiple storefronts would likely help and where Apple/Google have conflicts when they offer their own apps. Regardless you seem to see monopolistic demons everywhere and I've only seen a few thus far.

Anyways I don't think we need to break anything up at this stage, its far too early. I hope like you said that these corporations will beat each other up a bit and come to some sort of middle ground that won't require much government intervention.

YOU SILLY COMMIE!
Playing: Xenoblade Chronicles DE, Ys IX, God of War
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