Tim Cook's hotly anticipated Epic trial testimony is a big nothingburger | Cult of Mac

Tim Cook’s hotly anticipated Epic trial testimony is a big nothingburger

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Tim Cook makes the case for Apple during Congress' antitrust hearing.
Tim Cook makes the case for Apple during the Epic Games v. Apple trial.
Photo: C-SPAN

As the Epic Games v. Apple trial winds down, Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the witness stand Friday to deliver a big fat nothingburger.

Trial watchers were hoping Cook would deliver dramatic and explosive testimony, but he mostly dodged, demurred or couldn’t remember.

Apple and Epic’s battle commenced in August 2020 when the game developer tried to dodge Apple’s 30% App Store cut for Fortnite in-app purchases. Apple immediately booted Fortnite from the App Store. Epic responded with a lawsuit taking aim at Apple for allegedly monopolistic behavior.

This is reportedly the first time Cook has testified at any trial, showing the seriousness of the dispute.

Witness for the defense

Taking the witness stand, Cook right off the cuff said he isn’t much involved in the running of the App Store, but keeps an eye on it in a “limited review capacity.”

After some friendly softballs from Apple’s lawyers, discussion turned to some of the key issues of the trial, namely the policies and profits in the App Store.

Questioned by Epic’s lawyers, Cook said he couldn’t estimate how much of Apple’s R&D budget went toward the App Store, because “we don’t allocate like that.” He claimed, somewhat dubiously, that Apple doesn’t break out R&D budgets for individual projects.

Asked about the App Store’s profits, Cook again claimed Apple does not evaluate the App Store’s income as a standalone business.

Told that the profits of the store were estimated at about 80%, Cook said the number was inaccurate. But when asked to give specifics, he said only that the iOS numbers “would be a lot larger” than macOS App Store numbers.

Wrapping up

Later, Epic’s lawyers asked Cook about Apple’s deal with Google as the default search engine on iOS. Again, Cook said he didn’t remember the specific numbers.

Cook’s hour-plus testimony mostly went like that. He was polite and deferential, but his answers shed almost no light on the case or Apple’s business.

The trial will continue next week with a closed court session, but we’ll likely not hear a peep about it because it concerns confidential business information. The judge said a ruling isn’t likely to come quickly because she’s busy with other cases.