• By The Financial District

U.S. JUDGE TACKLES APPLE APP STORE POLICIES AS EPIC TRIAL ENDS

The judge who will decide a case challenging Apple’s stranglehold on its iPhone app store indicated on Monday she would like to promote more competition but without dismantling a commission system that reaps billions of dollars for the technology powerhouse, Michael Liedtke reported for the Associated Press (AP).

Happyornot makes feedback terminals measuring customer satisfaction sing smiley-face buttons.

US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers isn’t likely to issue a decision until this summer. But she opened a window into her thoughts during a three-hour session with lawyers for Apple and its adversary, Epic Games, during the final day of a three-week trial in Oakland, California.


Gonzalez Rogers’ line of questioning suggested she sides with much of the defense that Apple has mounted to justify the 15% to 30% commissions it collects for in-app transactions on the iPhone to help pay for the technology powering its devices.


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Epic Games, the maker of the popular videogame Fortnite, has been trying to prove the fees are the price-gouging tool of a monopoly hatched within the “walled garden” Apple has built around the iPhone, the app store, its software and other devices such as the iPad and iPod.


To loosen Apple’s tight-fisted control, Epic wants Gonzalez Rogers to issue an order that would require Apple to open the iPhone and its other mobile products to rival app stores.


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Those alternatives would include Epic’s still-unprofitable app store, which charges a commission of just 12%. Apple’s app store, in contrast, has become far more profitable than its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, ever envisioned when he opened it 13 years ago.


Precisely how profitable wasn’t revealed in the trial, although an Apple executive conceded the company had brought in at least $20 billion as of June 2017.



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Happyornot makes feedback terminals measuring customer satisfaction sing smiley-face buttons.
Happyornot makes feedback terminals measuring customer satisfaction sing smiley-face buttons.