Apple boss Cook defends expulsion from “Fortnite”

Without Apple’s control, there would be “toxic chaos” in the app store, says CEO Tim Cook in court. He denies that the expulsion of the popular game “Fortnite” was about money.

Apple-Chef Tim Cook

Apple boss Tim Cook has defended the rules of the app store of his group in the process initiated by the video game developer Epic Games (“Fortnite”). Without control of the apps offered, the online marketplace would develop into a “toxic chaos,” said Cook on Friday before the federal court in Oakland, California. Without complete control, Apple could not keep its “promise” of “privacy and security” in application programs.

“It would also be terrible for the developer (of apps) because the developer has to rely on the store to be a safe and trustworthy place,” said the witness Cook. The Apple boss denied that the iPhone manufacturer’s profit margin for apps was around 80 percent, but without giving exact figures.

“It has nothing to do with money”

The process, which could have far-reaching effects on the entire industry, is about Apple’s market power through its app store. The online giant only allows apps and games to be downloaded from its own app store on its mobile devices. The group prescribes its own Apple Pay system as the payment method and collects up to 30 percent of the app providers’ income as a fee.

The dispute with Epic Games escalated in August when the game maker tried to bypass Apple Pay as a means of payment. Apple then banned “Fortnite”, the developer’s most popular game, from its app store. Epic Games therefore took Apple to court.

The Apple boss assured on Friday that his group’s insistence on Apple Pay as the sole means of payment is not about profit, but about user-friendliness. “We always put the user at the center of everything we do,” said Cook. “It has nothing to do with money.”

Cook also faced harsh questions from Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. This commented critically that the fees withheld by Apple would appear to her “inappropriate”. “I see it differently,” replied Cook. The closing arguments in the process are expected next week.

Other developers also accuse Apple of misusing its strong market position. The Swedish music app provider Spotify therefore moved before the EU Commission. This recently accused Apple of unfair competition because of the terms of use of its app store for music providers: The US group had “abused its dominant position in the distribution of music streaming apps via its app store”.