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App Store VP Matt Fischer to take witness stand in Epic v. Apple on Thursday

Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Matt Fischer, Apple's vice president of the App Store, will take the witness stand on Thursday in the ongoing Epic Games v. Apple trial — the first Apple employee to do so.

An Apple veteran of 20 years, Fischer currently runs the day-to-day operations of the App Store and reports to Apple fellow Phil Schiller. Fischer is likely to be questioned about App Store polices, market power on iOS devices, and other topics related to the Cupertino tech giant's app marketplace.

Later on Thursday, Trystan Kosmynka, a senior director of Apple's App Review process, will also take the stand. Other Apple executives will be called at witnesses later in the trial, including Schiller, CEO Tim Cook, and software chief Craig Federighi.

Among Apple executives, Fischer keeps a relatively low profile. He rarely speaks publicly and doesn't appear at Apple launch events or keynotes.

In the first three days of the trial, Epic Games has called witnesses from among its own ranks and other companies like Microsoft and Nvidia. Its main arguments include that Apple charges too much on App Store commissions and abuses its market power to snuff out competition on iOS.

The battle between Epic Games and Apple kicked off when the former company directly violated Apple's guidelines by introducing a direct payment system that bypassed the App Store purchase platform. One of Apple's talking points focused on the rule-breaking, with Apple's lawyers arguing that Epic Games also has developer guidelines and the company bans rule-breakers on its platforms.

In the first two days of the trial, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney admitted that Apple's 30% cut of app and in-app purchases was a standard rate across the industry. He also said he would have taken a special deal for reduced commissions from Apple, even if it excluded other developers.

Internal documents and emails revealed as evidence during the trial has also shed light on the App Store, Apple's policies, and other interesting tidbits. For example, Microsoft's attempts to get xCloud on iOS may have gotten a similar service booted from the App Store. Other internal emails also paint a clearer picture of the decade-long feud between Facebook and Apple.

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