Nine things we learned from the Epic v. Apple trial


It’s been just over three weeks since the Epic v. Apple proceedings kicked off, and the news has been relentless. So as we wait for a verdict to roll in, we’re taking a quick turn through all the biggest takeaways from the trial. A lot of the juiciest points didn’t speak directly to the verdict — like the profit structure of the Xbox or the troubled history of Fortnite crossplay — but that’s part of the fun of a massive trans-corporate dustup like this. Once you start digging through CEO Tim Cook’s inbox, all sorts of interesting stuff comes out.



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1] Apple keeps iMessage closed in order to sell more iPhones

We’ve known for a while that Apple isn’t going to make iMessage available outside of iOS devices, but this trial showed exactly how thoroughly Apple has considered expanding iMessage into other operating systems — and exactly why the company doesn’t want to.

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Internal emails show Eddy Cue pushing to expand iMessage into a WhatsApp-style messaging platform as early as 2013 — and the issue reemerging in an email to Phil Schiller in 2016. The idea was rejected for the same reason both times: opening up iMessage would just mean one less reason to buy an iPhone.

Sony saw ‘Fortnite’ crossplay as a business liability

2] PlayStation’s Fortnite crossplay deal is even sketchier than we realized

Sony took its time enabling crossplay between different console versions of Fortnite, eventually relenting late in 2018. But a handful of new emails with Epic Games showed the deal was even knottier than was publicly known. Apparently, Sony saw crossplay as a business liability for its business and was only willing to adopt it after Epic agreed to a complicated cross-platform revenue sharing agreement. It’s a unique arrangement — but since we also learned PlayStation is the top revenue driver for Fortnite, Epic seems to have been willing to make concessions for the platform.

3] Apple pulled out all the stops to keep Netflix selling subscriptions on the iPhone

Apple insists it treats all App Store developers equally, but it’s clear big players like Amazon have gotten special treatment because of their sheer number of users….

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