Matt Fischer will be the first Apple employee to take the witness stand as Epic, the creator of Fortnite, tries to convince a federal judge that the market for apps running on hundreds of millions of iPhones operates like a monopoly. Trystan Kosmynka, senior manager at Apple in charge of the app review process, is expected to be called to the booth later today.
Despite having a tenure of nearly 20 years at Apple and in charge of a company with an estimated turnover of more than $ 20 billion a year, Fischer keeps a low profile: he is not featured on Apple’s website, it does not appear at Apple. product launch events and he rarely speaks publicly. He reports to Phil Schiller, the company’s top app store executive, who is expected to be called as a witness later in the lawsuit, as well as chief executive Tim Cook.
Topics that Fischer could be questioned about by Epic’s attorneys include App Store business strategy, finances, policies and practices, and market power over iOS devices, according to court documents. Kosmynka, who reports to Apple’s head of developer relations, will be asked about the app review process and App Store retention.
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The lawsuit in Oakland, Calif., Comes as Apple faces a backlash – with billions of dollars in revenue at stake – from global regulators and some app developers who say its standard fees of the App Store by 30% and other policies are unfair and stand-alone.
The fight with Epic erupted in August when the game maker told customers it would replace Apple’s in-app purchase system with its own, bypassing Apple’s commissions for add-ons inside Fortnite. Apple then removed the game, cutting off access to more than a billion customers.
Apple, which vehemently denies abusing its market power, called Epic’s legal gambit a “fundamental assault” on a business model that benefits both developers and consumers.
During the first three days of the trial, Epic presented testimony from its CEO, Tim Sweeney, and other executives at the game maker to argue that the App Store is like a “walled garden” that has left users and developers “trapped” in an anti-competitive market.
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Epic also called executives of other companies with gaming activities, including Microsoft Corp. as witnesses. and Nvidia Corp., to show that they too were constrained by onerous App Store rules.
Apple has used its cross-examination of witnesses in an attempt to undermine their credibility and pierce Epic’s antitrust claims.
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