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Apple execs don't know if the App Store is profitable, "don't deny that it likely is"

iPhone maker confirms it took more than $20 billion in commission fees between 2008 and 2017

A key Apple witness has claimed the mobile giant does not know whether or not the App Store is profitable.

Apple Fellow and former senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller returned to the stand yesterday and was questioned about a variety of topics, from data tracking to explicit content on the App Store.

Epic's attorney Katherine Forrest later pressed Schiller about the store's profitability and the justification for its 30% commission on all transactions -- one of the central pillars to the Fortnite firm's arguments.

Law360 reports she cited an email Schiller wrote in 2011 that suggested Apple may "ratchet down" the 30% fee after the App Store passed $1 billion in profits.

When she asked whether the App Store had been profitable since 2009, Schiller claimed he did not know.

As the conversation continued, Schiller confirmed the store generated more than $20 billion for Apple solely from those 30% commissions, but he reiterated that he could not definitively say whether it turns a profit.

Forrest displayed incredulity, asking how Apple can have the advanced technology available in its products and be facing multiple antitrust claims around the world against the App Store, and yet claim that "nobody" at the company knows if the store is profitable.

"We don't deny that it likely is," he said -- but added that the company has not broken down the business in a way that isolates the App Store's revenues and operating costs to calculate its profitability.

Profitability has been an ongoing topic around the trial. Before the court proceedings began, Apple called the Epic Games Store into question, revealing figures that suggested Epic was spending far more than it was earning.

Sweeney confirmed this at the time, dubbing it a "fantastic investment" into growing a new part of Epic's business.

When he took to the stand at the beginning of the trial, he confirmed the Epic Games Store is "hundreds of millions of dollars short of being profitable" but believes this will be rectified "within three or four years."

Schiller's testimony began earlier this week, where he revealed only 17% of iOS games use the same freemium model as Fortnite, and only 6% are premium titles -- meaning less than a quarter of games on the App Store could be affected by the trial's outcome.

You can follow all of our Epic vs Apple coverage here, or read the highlights in our ongoing roundup.

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