Everything We Learned from the Apple vs Epic Trial


After nearly one month, the Apple vs Epic trial is finally over, and even though it'll be a while before a verdict is had, we can take this time to digest everything little thing that we've learned, especially those that took us by surprise.

Win or lose, Apple vs Epic trial might have serious repercussions for Apple going forward.

Here's everything important that's been unveiled at the Apple vs Epic trial.

How Did the Apple vs Epic Trial Start?

Apple takes a 30% revenue cut from all sales made on the App Store.

First things first, let's talk about what led to the Apple vs Epic trial in the first place.

For those that don't know, Epic Games is one of the biggest video game publishers around. It's the company behind one of the highest-earning video games right now, Fortnite. It's the same game that also used to be available on the Apple Store.

We say "used" because Apple has since removed Fortnite from the App Store. This was after Apple found out that Epic had released an alternative payment method inside the Fortnite app. In the eyes of Apple, this was a clear violation of its App Store policies. Meanwhile, Epic refuted that the 30% revenue cut of all sales made via the App Store for Apple was too much.

Ultimately, one thing led to another and we now have the Apple vs Epic trial.

What We Learned from the Apple vs Epic Trial

Here is a quick rundown of all the relevant things we learned from the Apple vs Epic trial:

Why iMessage is Exclusive to iPhones

According to multiple emails that popped up during the Apple vs Epic Games trial, Apple's Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Service previously suggested expanding iMessage to other operating systems. Every time, Cue's idea was rejected.

Apple knows that its instant messaging service is a huge factor in why people end up buying an iPhone. Apple believes that purposely keeping iMessage away from other operating systems helps sell more iPhones.

Epic Pays Sony to Enable Crossplay on the PlayStation

It's no secret that Sony is the king of consoles. All four previous generations of the PlayStation have each sold at least 87.4 million units, with the PlayStation 3, at 7th place, the only one to not make it to the five best-selling consoles of all time. So, it stands to reason that Sony can command a bit of a premium to enable cross-play on their platforms.

While this was "common knowledge" before the Apple vs Epic trial, documents presented during the ordeal proved just how much Epic Games had to concede for Sony to agree to enable crossplay on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

Because of the unique cross-platform revenue-sharing agreement, Epic has to pay Sony to enable cross-play for its consoles. Then again, when the PlayStation platform accounts for nearly 50% of all Fortnite revenue, you'd understand why Epic Games is so willing to throw Sony so much cash.

If it's any consolation, Sony isn't afraid to invest the money back in Epic Games. Sony invested $200 million in Epic Games as part of a recent billion-dollar funding round.

The App Store Makes Apple Huge Money

If there's one thing that we've learned from the Apple vs Epic Games trial, it's that Apple won't admit just how much money it makes from the App Store.

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A prominent Apple figure, Phil Schiller, even admitted that he had no idea if the App Store brought in more money than it spent since it was introduced more than a decade ago. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he didn't calculate just how profitable the App Store was for Apple.

Considering just how smart these people are, it's impossible for them not to know that the App Store brought Apple around $45 billion in profit in 2020.

Netflix Gets Preferential Treatment from Apple

Email records released during the Epic Apple trial revealed that Apple gives Netflix a lot of leeway over featured content, discounts, and other benefits to its subscribers.

This came as a result of Netflix initially considering removing in-app purchasing from the iOS version of its app. Instead, Netflix would recommend subscribers pay directly on a web browser. This would effectively let Netflix circumvent Apple's hefty 30% commission and allow it to make more money. But, Apple caught wind of it, and, instead of alienating one of the biggest apps on the App Store, Apple gave Netflix a preferable deal.

Why Apple just doesn't do this for Epic is something that's difficult for us to wrap our heads around.

Everything Microsoft

There was a lot that we learned about Microsoft as part of it serving as a sidekick of sorts to Epic Games during the Apple vs Epic trial.

Here's a quick summary of it all:

  • Microsoft confirmed the obvious that it sells each Xbox console at a loss.
  • Apple temporarily removed Shadow, a game streaming service that has since declared bankruptcy, from the App Store as a result of Microsoft pointing Shadow out as an example in an attempt to get Apple to list xCloud on the App Store.
  • The decision-makers over at Microsoft are hoping that it can release a game of similar quality to The Last of Us Part 2.
  • Nintendo and Microsoft might be looking at a potential partnership that could see the Xbox Game Pass become available on the Nintendo Switch.

Winning Probably Isn't Epic's Goal

Anyone with the necessary knowledge, experience, and/or authority to comment on the Apple vs Epic trial will tell you that this case is Apple's to lose, meaning that Epic Games could be going to war against Apple for nothing. Or, at least, that's how it would look.

What most people fail to understand is that Epic isn't probably thinking of winning. Rather, Epic might just want to highlight how Apple treats its smaller competitors.

We know how protective Apple is of its image with the public. This is why Apple has managed to avoid the regulatory problems that its rivals, Facebook and Google, have faced in the past. However, because of the trial, Apple might find it on the other end of lawsuits and antitrust probes from the United States and European Union, among others.

Who's Going to Win the Epic Games vs Apple Trial?

Epic doesn't need to win the trial to prove a point. In fact, Epic has already done its job.

The ruling for the trial won't come until later this year. Who will win? As we've said, this is Apple's to lose. Then again, anti-trust trials can go either way. So, who knows? Maybe the judge rule in Epic Games' favor, although that's highly unlikely.

In the end, Epic probably doesn't care about willing or losing. Now that the trial is over, Epic has done what it probably set out to do - expose Apple's unfair business practices.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.