Apple’s veteran developer relations exec retires, role taken over by product marketing VP

Apple’s executive responsible for the App Store developer relations has retired after two decades at the company, according to a new report by Bloomberg. The role is being handed over to a veteran Apple marketing executive.

Ron Okamoto was hired by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs in 2001 as vice president of developer relations after previously serving as an executive at Adobe Inc. At Apple, Okamoto helped oversee the app-review process and policies, distribution of tools to build and sell apps, forums and technical developer support, the annual WWDC conference, awards for developers, and developer communications.

His role has been filled by Susan Prescott, Apple marketing executive, who also oversees marketing for Apple’s own apps, besides services and enterprise initiatives. She’s been at Apple since 2003 but her last appearance in a keynote was in 2015 when Apple introduced the 27-inch 5K iMac.

This change was first revealed in a witness list provided by Apple about the Epic Game’s case that will be on trial in May. “The witness list said a deposition by Okamoto may be used in the trial and that he can testify about the App Store’s policies, business model, developer tools, and agreements between Apple and third-party developers,” today’s report from Bloomberg explains.

While there’s not necessarily any correlation, the change comes amid various App Store concerns. In August, Epic Games filed a lawsuit in the US just hours after it was pulled from Apple’s App Store for including a direct payment option in its game. Apple is also being sued for its failure to rid the App Store of scams.

Now we have to wait and see what could change in the App Store developer relations department. Last year, the company introduced the Small Business Program, which cut the App Store commission rate to 15% for many developers.

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