The antitrust lawsuit between Epic Games and Apple is getting closer, and the witness lists include two high-profile figures set to take the stand: Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Sweeney will testify for almost eight hours while Cook will be examined for approximately two hours.
VGC reports that the two CEOs are expected to testify about very different but broad topics. Sweeney is likely to focus on Epic’s business model and discussions with Apple and Google, as well as its relationship with competitor Samsung. Cook is said to focus on the App Store and its competitors, as well as more broadly about Apple’s corporate values.
The tentative witness list also includes executives from other tech companies including Microsoft, Facebook, and Nvidia. Apple previously attempted to block Epic from publicly calling some witnesses, but that request was denied. The trial is set to begin on May 3, with plans to last about three weeks.
The legal battle began when Epic issued an update to Fortnite that circumvented the App Store’s payment mechanism, effectively cutting out Apple’s 30% cut. Apple responded by pulling Fortnite from the App Store, triggering Epic to respond with a ready-made PR campaign including a movie parodying Apple’s famous 1984 commercial and a “Free Fortnite” social media campaign. In a legal filing issued shortly after, Epic claimed Apple’s store represents a monopoly, and requested permission to sell directly to customers a la Netflix–or even to set up its own competing App Store altogether.
Epic also started a lobbying group with some other developers called the Coalition for App Fairness. It has been pushing for bills in various states that would effectively force Apple and Google to allow developers to set up their own payment systems. One such bill recently stalled in the Arizona state senate. Apple, meanwhile, appears to have internal documentation from Epic regarding its PR campaign–which it says was called “Project Liberty”–and that the effort was intended to boost interest in Fortnite.
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