U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers explains Apple CEO Tim Cook why the iPhone maker won’t give users the option to buy products and virtual content at lower prices directly from developers.
The odds of Apple Inc. to win an antitrust lawsuit filed by Epic Games Inc. they appeared less secure on Friday after the judge questioned CEO Tim Cook about whether his company manages its app market competitively.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers explained to Cook why the iPhone maker would not give users the option to purchase lower-priced virtual goods and content directly from developers, and only allows purchase through from the Apple App Store, a problem at the heart of the Box.
When he first testified at a trial, Cook answered questions for more than two hours in federal court in Oakland, California, while a three-week trial in the battle between companies closed.
“What’s the problem with allowing users to have options, especially in the context of the game, to have a cheaper option for content?” González Rogers asked.
Cook, who faced intense questioning from the judge in his final minutes in testimony, said consumers “have a choice” today to buy cheaper Android phones via iPhones.
Gonzalez Rogers insisted more on Cook asking “what’s Apple’s problem” if users wanted an option to pay less outside the App Store to buy V-Bucks, the game’s currency used in the blockbuster Epic’s Fortnite game.
“In essence, we would waive our total profitability of our IP,” Cook replied, referring to the company’s intellectual property.
Epic sued in August after Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store because the developer had created a solution, so it would not have to continue to pay a 30% fee for purchases made from customers ’app. Epic claims that App Store policies affect developers and frustrate competition.
Cook, a 60-year-old man who speaks softly and has been CEO since 2011, backtracked on Epic’s claims that the App Store leverages profits with unfair policies and self-service.
Cook said it would be “terrible” for iPhone and iPad users if the judge ordered the company to allow third-party app markets, in addition to its own App Store, as Epic claims.
“It would be a big convenience issue, but it would also increase fraud issues,” because customers would have to enter credit card information multiple times, Cook said.