What you need to know
- The head of the App Store says that it promotes apps from competitors on its platform 'all the time'.
- App Store VP Matt Fischer was responding to evidence that said he felt "strongly" about not featuring Apple's competitors.
- He also said Apple promotes streaming services it competes with.
Apple's App Store VP has told a court he rejected a suggestion that Apple does not promote its competitors on its App Store when it was made in 2016.
Speaking to the court on day four of the Epic Games vs Apple trial, Matt Fischer was presented with evidence, specifically an internal email, stating that Fischer felt "strongly" about not featuring Apple's competitors on its App Store.
The evidence, seen by iMore, comes from 2016 and shows Apple employees in discussion regarding a VoiceOver collection for Apple's App Store. The first email reads:
Just spoke with Tanya about featuring Google and Amazon apps in the VoiceOver collection and she asked us to exclude them from the lineup. Although they may be our best and the brightest apps, Matt feels extremely strong about not featuring our competitors on the App Store store, so Yanta asked us to apply the same filters for this collection. I'm sorry I didn't check this earlier.
That email was passed on to Fischer by Sarah Herrlinger, currently, Apple's Senior Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives at Apple, who asked Matt about the issue. Herrlinger states that Apple should consider looking at the issue through a different lens to most other popular apps and that it would benefit apple to show small developers how larger companies like Google and Amazon were making use of its accessibility feature.
Presented with this at trial, Fischer stated the first email was "definitely not accurate" and that the employee who sent it was "very misinformed". Fischer stated that he followed up with the employee's manager before stating:
"We have promoted apps that are competitive to Apple apps since before I joined the App Store team in 2010, and we continue to not only distribute but to feature and promote apps that are competitive to Apple apps in the store. We do this all the time."
Fischer also pointed out Apple has featured apps like Peacock, Hulu, and Hulu Plus despite running its own competing service, Apple TV+.