What's Up With Apple: Malware on Macs, Courtroom Update and More

The antitrust case lodged by Epic Games against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is about to conclude its second week with a courtroom appearance from CEO Tim Cook. In the meantime, however, the trial took an interesting turn Wednesday during testimony from Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.

Federici’s testimony was intended to focus on the benefits of Apple’s walled garden, otherwise known as the App Store. In doing so, he revealed some security shortcomings of the macOS. From a report in MacRumors:

If you took Mac security techniques and applied them to the iOS ecosystem, with all those devices, all that value, it would get run over to a degree dramatically worse than is already happening on the Mac. And as I say, today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable and is much worse than iOS.

While Apple offers a secure App Store for MacOS software downloads, it also offers people a way to download software from registered developers but warns that this is not as secure as downloading from the App Store. Federighi’s point was that iOS apps that have been accepted for the App Store have made iOS a much safer environment, implying that loosening the company’s control over downloads could cause mayhem among iPhone users.

In a review of what’s happened in the trial so far and what the outcome might be, Loup Ventures analysts Gene Munster and David Stokman, write that they believe Apple has the upper hand:

Two weeks in, we believe the odds are that Apple will win this case. The burden of proof falls on Epic to show that Apple is hurting consumers through its App Store policies, a difficult standard to meet given most consumers are pleased with the App Store experience. Additionally, history shows that successful antitrust challenges are few and far between, which makes an Epic victory unlikely.

If Apple does win, they go on, “the App Store status quo will carry on,” although, over time, Apple is likely to moderate its fees in order to keep regulators at bay. Regardless of how Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rules, an appeal is virtually certain.

One interesting development coming out of the trial is that Roblox, the development platform that allows people to play and create their own games, has dropped the word “games” and substituted “experiences” in order “to reflect our realization of the metaverse.”

Finally, in a sort-of-related announcement, HBO Max has announced that beginning next month the streaming service will offer an ad-supported tier that will cost $9.99 a month, $5 lower than the standard fee. Unlike the regular subscription, the cheaper version does not include same-day access (known in the industry as day and date) to new movie releases.