In his 1st ever-court appearance, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday laid out his case for, why Apple should be the only company to sell apps on iPhone. He said allowing 3rd party app stores would expose consumers to hackers and malware. Testifying in-game developer Epic’s antitrust suit against Apple, Tim called the idea of putting 3rd party apps on iPhone an experiment he would want to run. He’s not alone, either. According to professor Justin Cappos New York University Tandon School of Engineering opening up the iPhone would make everyone iPhone owner.
According to Justin, “I think there’s a very clear line to draw to say that if you let basically people go and run their own effective app stores. “Even if they’re installing things like kind of within an app, the potential for malicious code and malicious behavior on the iPhone increases dramatically.”
There are more reasons for Apple not to allow 3rd party apps on stores on the iPhone than simply protecting consumers. 30% fee Apple collects on the sale of many apps and through Apple store app purchased. Apple is right in protecting its consumers, app store dominance is not purely a selfless concern. And the company argued that it is protecting consumer data might not be enough to protect it from antitrust enforcement over an app store.
Epic claims that Apple abuses its monopoly power over the App Store to use its proprietary payment system by forcing developers and paying Apple a 30% fee on in-app purchases and sales of apps. Last summer coordinated campaign kicked, Epic deployed an update for its game Fortnite. It includes an option that Epic’s own payment option or Apple’s App Store to pay for in-game currency, which was, naturally, less expensive.
Apple responded by taking down Fortnite and also cut off Epic from Apple’s developer program. The antitrust suit was filed by Epic against Apple asking, to cut a 30% fee or allow 3rd part app stores on the iPhone. On Monday, the arguments were closed in the bench trial, and Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is expected to make her decision in the coming weeks.
Epic says if 3rd party stores are allowed in app stores on iPhone, developers will be able to lower the price of their app because they don’t have to pay Apple’s 30% charges. But in his testimony, Tim suggested opening up the iPhone would be a great risk.