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Tim Cook To Testify In Epic, Apple Case

 |  May 17, 2021

Apple gets its turn this week to mount a courtroom defense against Epic Games’s antitrust claims, preparing to bring in its most powerful spokesman: Tim Cook.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Cook, a guarded CEO who is used to carefully orchestrated public appearances, is set to testify in a trial that, regardless of the verdict, could prove to be one of the most consequential for the iPhone maker as it faces accusations it denies of abusing its market power.

Approaching the 10th anniversary of taking over as CEO, Mr. Cook is no stranger to high-profile, make-or-break moments for Apple. A polished public speaker, he has twice testified before Congress, but has never appeared on a witness stand in a trial where his words could sway a judge for or against the company.

His testimony is likely to be the most detailed public discussion he will give on a subject that is likely to loom over Apple for years to come. Mr. Cook has been preparing for the trial, according to a person familiar with his efforts. That has included hours of practice rounds from former prosecutors chosen by his legal team to simulate the witness stand.

He is expected to seek to bolster Apple’s argument that it isn’t a monopoly in a case that threatens to unravel its control over the App Store, a key part of Apple’s services business that generated almost US$54 billion last year.

Epic contends Apple has created monopolies by blocking other app stores on the iPhone and requiring apps to use its in-app purchase system to collect digital revenue, allowing it to collect a 30% commission that Epic claims is unfairly high. Apple counters that the commission is fair for the value it has created for developers and users, is in line with what others charge and points to Android devices, computers, and videogame consoles as examples to buttress the claim that it isn’t limiting distribution of Epic’s game “Fortnite.”

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