From Bloomberg’s “Apple Trial Threatens to Reveal App Store’s Commission Bounty,” posted Friday:
Apple Inc.’s App Store has long been touted as a growth engine. Now, the world’s most valuable company is fighting in U.S. court to not reveal in public just how lucrative it is.
In a trial scheduled to start Monday, Epic Games Inc. is alleging that the iPhone maker’s 30% commission on app sales is a violation of antitrust law, cheating developers and consumers. Epic’s long-odds gambit to gain free access to the App Store, which has garnered support from mom-and-pop developers and giants like Microsoft Corp., comes amid increasing global regulatory scrutiny of Apple’s domination of software on its ubiquitous phones. On Friday, the European Union issued a warning over the App store, saying it thinks Apple abused its power.
Apple has asked the judge in California to close the courtroom when Epic calls on an expert witness to discuss the “the purported ‘profitability’ of the App Store on a standalone basis.” Apple said in a filing late Wednesday that it isn’t objecting to the court considering such evidence brought by Epic, but is “concerned that analysts, investors, reporters, and others in the marketplace could misinterpret the public disclosure of non-public, unaudited financial information.”
My take: Misinterpretation is a given. What I can’t tell is whether Epic thinks the App Store is too profitable or less profitable than Apple lets on.
The trial is scheduled to start Monday.