Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers held unconventional closing arguments in the antitrust trial between Epic Games and Apple Inc. Both side’s attorneys peppered for three hours about how far she could and should go to change Apple’s App Store business.
This trial is being watched by many App makers and regulators around the world. Gonzalez Rogers has hinted in sharp questions to Apple that she may be receptive to some of the Fortnite game creator’s allegations. This is that Apple misuses its control over the App Store and this hurts the developers.
The Apple’s App Store profits from game makers looked disproportionate. This was stated by the federal judge and adding this she questioned Epic on whether there was a way to address its concerns without forcing Apple to open the iPhone to rival app stores, as Epic has proposed. Epic’s lawyer Gary Bornstein stuck to their request which has made since filing the case last year, that is to force Apple to open up the iPhone to competing app stores and bar it from requiring developers to use its in-app payment system.
Gonzalez Rogers said that Epic Chief Executive Tim Sweeney who is driving the company’s legal strategy and attending the entire trial, is the reason for attacking the fundamental way that Apple is generating revenue. But he added that there is a reasonable point for Apple to use these profits to benefit the whole ecosystem. Apple’s attorneys argued that Epic’s sweeping requests would make Apple just like the Android system, essentially decreasing consumer choice.
Apple attorney Veronica Moye said that Apple wants to keep its product differentiated. Anyone who wants third-party app stores is free to go out and buy an Android device, she said. The relief requested here is to force Apple to take a competing product off the market. To make her decision, the judge will have to wade through 4,500 pages of testimony, a process she said could take months.