Tim Cook email reveals he had no idea who Tim Sweeney was in 2015

“Is this the guy that was at one of our rehearsals?”

What you need to know

  • Tim Cook sent an email in 2015 asking just who exactly Tim Sweeney was.
  • The Epic Games CEO had emailed Cook to ask about making some big changes to the iOS App Store.
  • Cook had to ask Phil Schiller if Sweeney was “the guy that was at one of our rehearsals?”

An email filed as evidence in the Apple vs Epic Games trial has revealed Tim Cook had no idea who Tim Sweeney was just three weeks after Fortnite for iOS was previewed at WWDC 2015.

Evidence filed in the trial reveals that in 2015, shortly after WWDC, Tim Sweeney emailed Tim Cook to ask about the prospect of some sweeping changes he thought would make the App Store a better place. The email states:

“Hi Tim,

Y’all should think about separating iOS App Store curation from compliance review and app distribution. The App Store has done much good for the industry, but it doesn’t seem tenable for Apple to be the sole arbiter of expression and commerce over an app platform approaching a billion users”

Sweeney goes on to ask about limiting compliance review to API compatibility, safety, data privacy, and fair disclosure practices, separating Apple’s curation and compliance “to ensure a seamless Apple-controlled commerce experience within the App Store”.

“Compliance review would keep iOS free of malware,” Sweeney told Cook, “while open distribution would combine the best aspects of the App Store with the best aspects of open platforms.”

Sweeney, in a moment of foreboding, also said Apple should approach the matter proactively “before the topic os overly complicated by opposing political, regulatory, moral, and competitive forces”. Ironically, the email is now evidence in the antitrust trial of the century.

We don’t know if Tim Cook responded or indeed what he might have said, but we do know he forwarded the email to Phil Schiller and asked:

“Is this the guy that was at one of our rehearsals?”

Epic Games has previewed Fortnite on iOS at WWDC just three weeks earlier. Brutal.

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