The Chief Executive of US-based iPhone maker Apple, Tim Cook, told a court the ‘threat profile’ of the brand required tight control of the App Store, which “Fortnite” game maker Epic Games says is a monopoly that Apple abuses.
Mr. Cook is expected to spend more than two hours making what are likely to be his most extensive public remarks on the App Store, which anchors Apple’s $53.8 billion services business.
American game maker Epic has waged a public relations and legal campaign, arguing that Apple acts anti competitively by only allowing apps it approves on the world’s 1 billion iPhones and by forcing developers to use Apple’s in-app payment system, which charges commissions of up to 30 percent on sales.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cook said he had higher concerns about the phone than Mac computers. “You have a phone in your pocket most of the time and you want instant service. We felt both the use cases and the threat profile would eventually be much greater because of the number of iPhones on the market.”
Epic has argued that the Mac is very safe without Apple’s App Store review and that most of the privacy and security benefits come from the operating system, not the App Store rules.
The maker of “Fortnite,” which pits players against each other in an animated “Battle Royale” fight to the last survivor, is led by CEO Tim Sweeney, who has been utilizing the public opportunity to take on Apple.
Mr. Sweeney two weeks ago kicked off the trial as Epic’s first witness, using his time on the stand to argue that “Fortnite” has become a place for players to gather in a virtual world he calls the “metaverse” and that Apple is unfairly demanding an outsized cut of profits for providing simple payment processing technology.
The antitrust trial comes as Apple faces criticism from app makers including music service Spotify Technology, European regulators and US politicians who say the $2 trillion company tries to squash small competition.
Apple attorneys said they plan to ask Mr. Cook to testify about the company’s corporate values, how the App Store came about and Apple’s competitive landscape. Throughout the trial, Apple has sought to persuade the court that whatever rules it imposes on developers are aimed at keeping its customers’ information private and safe from malware.
But Epic’s legal team has been able to put other Apple executives under immense pressure during the three-week trial.