Tim Sweeney tried to get Tim Cook to change the App Store rules directly back in 2015

The hits just keep on coming. This time around it shows just how long Epic Games has been trying to get Apple to change its rules for the App Store. And it turns out it dates back to 2015.

That’s according to a report today from The Verge. Apparently Tim Sweeney, Epic Games’s CEO, emailed Apple’s chief executive directly to try and get the company to change their tune. The email exchange, which wasn’t long, was made public as part of the ongoing antitrust trial.

Sweeney titled the email “iOS as an open platform”, so obviously he wasn’t being coy about the plan. The executive wanted Apple to add third-party app stores to iOS.

Sweeney said:

The App Store has done much good for the industry,’ Sweeney wrote to Cook, ‘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 went on to add that he hoped Cook would, “separate iOS App Store curation from compliance review and app distribution”. Basically, Sweeney saw it as a way for Apple to still maintain its privacy and security on iOS in general, but not rely specifically on the App Store to distribute those apps.

The original report notes how this is similar to what Google offers with Play Protect on Android:

t’s a powerful distinction for the ongoing trial, in which Apple is arguing that App Store exclusivity is necessary to maintain the existing security and privacy features on iOS. These are part of the compliance process referenced by Sweeney in the email, and other ecosystems have been successful in implementing them across multiple app stores. Most recently, Google introduced a similar system on Android under the name Play Protect, guarding against malicious downloads even from side-loaded software.

Cook received that email from Sweeney, and then forwarded it to Phil Schiller. He included a question:

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

A few weeks earlier, Apple hosted its Worldwide Developers Conference. Epic Games was a guest at that event, praising Apple’s Metal API (which Apple says is reason enough why Epic Games should pay a commission for using Apple’s tools). Sweeney didn’t actually step on stage to talk about anything, but apparently he was at the event’s rehearsal.

Cook’s reply is certainly something, right? But, this goes to show just how badly Epic Games has tried to get Apple to change its ways. But that hasn’t happened yet, and, unless something wild happens at the end of this legal battle between the two companies, Apple probably won’t anytime soon.