Apple’s Filings in Epic Games Case Argue It Has Reduced Industry Commissions, While Third-Party App Stores Would Compromise Privacy and Security


Prior to its upcoming bench trial with Epic Games, Apple filed hundreds of pages of documents covering findings of fact, which include some interesting and previously unknown tidbits about ‌Epic Games‌.

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‌Epic Games‌ planned its rebellion against Apple for at least two years ahead of when it opted to brazenly violate Apple’s App Store rules, with Apple’s ‌App Store‌ fees at the heart of the dispute. Epic is of the opinion that it should not have to pay Apple a 30 percent cut to distribute apps on iOS devices, but court filings show that Epic itself used to charge much higher fees.

Back in the 1990s, when Epic initially agreed to distribute games from other developers, it collected a 60 percent commission. According to Apple’s documents, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said at the time that the 60 percent fee Epic collected was a “fairly favorable royalty,” as most distributors at that time charged 70 percent commissions.

Prior to when digital distribution platforms like the ‌App Store‌ existed, Sweeney commented that it was “so daunting” trying to sell games through brick and mortar locations.

“See, you put a huge amount of effort into developing a program. If you have to release it, then that’s basically doubling the effort, because of all the polish and documentation that’s needed. And unless you’re going to make serious money from that, then it’s not worth it.”

According to Apple, the ‌App Store‌ “upended the status quo” and introduced a “frictionless marketing, distribution, and transaction system” for both developers and users. Apple claimed that its model revolutionized payment for developers, who kept a 70 percent cut from the ‌App Store‌ instead of having to pay 70 percent to a distributor for typical retail sales.

In its filing, Apple pointed to Epic’s own high fees that it charged are evidence that deals negotiated prior to the ‌App Store‌ were much inferior to the 30 percent cut that it takes, while also informing the court about the reduced 15 percent fee that small developers are now eligible for.

Though Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has spent a lot of time maligning Apple on Twitter, he is a fan of Apple’s privacy practices. According to Apple’s court filing,…

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