In a new court filing, Epic Games is challenging Apple’s position that third-party app stores will compromise iPhone security. He points to Apple’s macOS as an example of how the process of “sideloading” apps — installing apps outside of Apple’s App Store — shouldn’t be the threat Apple describes it. Epic explains that the Apple Mac does not have the same restrictions as the iPhone operating system, iOS, however Apple considers the operating system used in Mac computers, macOS, to be safe.
The Fortnite maker of Cary, North Carolina, made these points in its latest briefing, among other things, regarding its ongoing legal battle with Apple over its control of the App Store.
Epic Games wants to have the right to offer Fortnite to iPhone users outside the App Store, or at least be able to use its payment processing system so it can stop paying Apple commissions for the ability to deliver its software to iPhone users. .
A judge in California ruled last September in the district court case Epic Games v. Apple that Apple did not have a monopoly in the relevant market – the transactions of mobile digital games. But the court ruled that Apple could not prevent developers from adding links to alternative payments within their apps that point to other payment methods outside of Apple’s App Store-based monetization system. While Apple called the ruling a victory, both sides appealed the decision because Epic Games wanted another chance to win the right to distribute apps via its Play Store, and Apple didn’t want to let developers suggest other ways for its users to pay.
On Wednesday, Epic filed its appeal response and response summary to transit appeals, after Apple appealed the district court ruling.
The game maker states in the new filing that the lower court was alerted by Apple on many points, and it came to the wrong conclusions. Many of her suggestions relate to how the district court should interpret the law. He also recently points to important allies Epic now has on its side — Microsoft, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and attorneys general in 34 states and the District of Columbia, all of whom have filed briefs in support of Epic’s case before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
However, one of Epic’s biggest points has to do with the Mac’s security model and how it differs from the iPhone. Epic says that if Apple can allow sideloading on Macs and keep calling those computers safe, it can certainly do the same with the iPhone.
“For macOS, Apple relies on security measures enforced by the operating system rather than the App Store, and an ‘authentication’ program that scans apps and then returns them to the developer for distribution,” the new Epic file says. She says the lower court even agreed that Apple’s witness in the matter (head of software engineering, Craig Federighi) was stretching the truth when he belittled macOS as suffering from a “malicious software problem”.
Then Epic cites examples of Apple’s private marketing of the security of its Mac computers, where apps can be “installed from both the App Store and the Internet” without worry.
Apple has argued against switching to this same model for the iPhone because it would require a redesign of how its software works, among other things, including what it says will reduce security for end users.
As App Store legislation targeting tech giants continues to advance in Congress, Apple has been raising alarm bells about being forced to open the iPhone to third-party app stores, as required by the bipartisan Open App Markets Act and other international regulations. Apple said that forcing sideloading is inconsistent with pro-consumer privacy protections.
In a paper published by Apple detailing this issue, it stated that allowing sideloading could risk the “most sensitive and private information” of users.
“Supporting sideloading through direct downloads and third-party app stores would cripple the privacy and security protections that made the iPhone so secure, and expose users to serious security risks,” the research paper states. Apple also cited Google’s Android operating system as an example of this risk, noting that over the past four years, Android devices have been detected with 15 to 47 times more malware than iPhones.
In time with the release of the new file, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney was interviewed by the Financial Times as he continued to rebuke Apple for its alleged anti-competitive behaviour. Sweeney said that even if Apple wins fairly in the hardware market, it should not be allowed to use this mode “to gain an unfair advantage over competitors and other markets,” such as software.
“They should compete fairly with the Epic Games Store, the Steam Store, and let’s say the Microsoft Store, and the many other stores that will appear – as they do with any other market in the world, except for digital app stores,” Sweeney said.
Epic’s response and reply brief from TechCrunch on Scribd