Apple denied Microsoft request to bypass 30% commission for Office
The Epic Games v. Apple trial has revealed additional details about Apple's behind the scenes negotiations with companies like Microsoft, including a request to bypass App Store commissions.
An email thread from 2012 sheds light on Microsoft's launch of Office for iPad and Apple's reaction to the news. According to CNBC, Apple executives asked Microsoft if it wanted to participate in WWDC that year. Microsoft declined, citing that it wasn't ready for talk about its iPad plans.
The thread, which included App Store executives Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue, also detail some of Microsoft's requests. For one, Microsoft wanted Schiller and Cue to meet with its own executives like Kirk Koenigsbauer — a current Microsoft senior vice president. Apple's team said yes.
However, Microsoft also asked Apple to allow it to redirect users to its own website to collect purchases and bypass the App Store 30% commission. Schiller denied this request, stating in an email that "We run the store, we collect the revenue."
Other documents and communications revealed in the Epic v. Apple trial show that the two companies shared a friendly partnership over several years.
Apple, for example, appeared to be interested in convincing Epic Games to support its ARKit augmented reality platform. Emails between Epic executives in 2017 suggested that a meeting with Apple occurred to discuss using the iPhone's face tracking technology to create animated characters.
The ARKit discussions between the two companies continued into 2020. After Apple released the iPad Pro with LiDAR, for example, Cupertino executives offered Epic Games a meeting with Apple's ARKit team. It also dangled the possibility of Apple promoting Epic Games at WWDC that year.