A top Apple Inc. executive, charged with defending the App Store in a monopoly case brought by Epic Games Inc., was forced to respond for a slew of other suspected antitrust violations by the world's most successful corporation on Tuesday.
During Apple's former global marketing director Phil Schiller's cross-examination in a trial in Oakland, California, he was asked about the cases in which the company has locked customers and made it impossible for them to switch away from its smartphones.
Katherine Forrest, an Epic lawyer, pointed out that Schiller emailed his colleagues a news article from 2016 titled "iMessage is the glue that keeps me stuck to the iPhone," which clarified that Apple's messaging platform is one reason people don't migrate to Android devices.
She also pressed Schiller on the notion that users can't easily move music and video purchased on Apple's services to Android. She went on to say that Apple's iCloud Keychain service, which is used to store passwords on Apple devices, does not work with Android devices.
Apple's App Store policies not only lock in developers, but they also lock in customers, restricting their ability to turn to rivals.
Many people subscribe to video and music streaming services, according to Schiller, and may manually enter their passwords into a new computer. Users may also use third-party password managers, he said.
Epic's counsel also attempted to show U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will settle the App Store case without any jury, that Apple has already been targeted for antitrust violations.
The US Justice Department filed a price-fixing lawsuit against Apple in 2012, alleging that the price of eBooks on the iPhone and iPad's built-in book reading app was fixed. Apple agreed to pay $450 million in exchange for a government-appointed monitor interviewing executives and reviewing the company's policies.
Schiller denied any involvement in the case, but Forrest claims the monitor attempted for a year and a half without success to obtain permission to interview him.
Another point of contention was Apple's November announcement of a new initiative that would reduce the App Store fees from thirty percent to 15% for developers with annual sales of less than $1 million.
During the Covid-19, Schiller couched it as an effort to support small companies, but when pressed, he admitted that the company was pivoting in response to worldwide criticism over App Store practices.
Forrest displayed an exhibit of Apple Music and Apple News appearing at the top of search result rankings instead of third-party apps in an effort to prove that Apple prefers its own apps in the search results on the App Store, which is another type of anticompetitive action.
According to Schiller, search algorithms look at hundreds of different variables, like which applications users already have on their smartphones.