Tim Cook Ordered to Attend 7-Hour Deposition in Apple vs. Epic Games Lawsuit

A judge presiding over preparatory hearings in the Apple vs. Epic Games court case has ruled that Apple CEO Tim Cook must attend a seven-hour long deposition to testify about how the company views App Store competition, reports Gizmodo.

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U.S. magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixon reportedly settled on the seven-hour deposition after Epic Games proposed eight hours to depose Cook and Apple requested four. Apple's concession came after its lawyers attempted to cite the "apex doctrine," which prevents a high-level corporate employee from being deposed.

According to Judge Thomas S. Hixon, however, "this dispute is less than meets the eye." Hixon writes that the apex doctrine "limits the length of a deposition, rather than barring it altogether," and that given the circumstances, the dispute is a question of whether Cook should be deposed for "four hours, eight hours, or some length of time in between." Hence, Hixon's ruling that Cook should be deposed for seven hours.

Judge Hixon also denied Apple's request to subpoena internal documents related to ‌Epic Games‌' relationship with Samsung, which Apple alleged would prove that its ‌App Store‌'s practices are largely consistent with other industry players.

In other words, if Apple can prove that Samsung made similar decisions in how it distributes ‌Epic Games‌' Fortnite, then it could argue that the company's antitrust argument is unconvincing.

However, Hixon called the request "a quirky deep dive" into arrangements between the two companies, which "cannot serve as a stand-in for some larger category of market participants."

In another development, Hixon ordered Apple to make "best efforts" to produce internal payment-processing documents, after it criticized the company as "frustrating and unsatisfactory" in its attempts to stall their release to Epic.

According to Law360, Apple counsel representatives Jay Srinivasan of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher argued that the large size of the company meant the documents would take time to produce, and claimed that ‌Epic Games‌ has not prioritized its requests.

"You're not really offering a solution to this problem," Judge Hixson told Srinivasan. "You're just saying, 'No, we can't do it.' That feels frustrating and unsatisfactory to me."

‌Epic Games‌‌ in August added a Fortnite update that allowed customers to purchase in-game currency directly from ‌Epic Games‌, skirting Apple's in-app purchases. That is against Apple's rules, and the move led Apple to pull the app from the App Store.

After that, ‌‌Epic Games‌‌ filed a planned lawsuit against Apple, and Apple ultimately terminated ‌‌Epic Games‌‌' developer account. Fortnite has not been available on iOS devices since August, and as Epic refuses to comply with the ‌‌App Store‌‌ rules, there is no path for it to return to the ‌‌App Store‌‌.

The trial between ‌Epic Games‌ and Apple is scheduled to begin in May 2021.

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Top Rated Comments

HQuest Avatar
45 months ago
Tim Cook: I don’t want to be here for an arbitrary length of 7 hours
Judge: this is the law.
Tim Cook: what if I don’t comply?
Judge: then you will get punished.
Tim Cook: that’s what Epic did. They had a legal agreement, they broke it and got punished. Any further questions?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Maximara Avatar
45 months ago
I don't understand why this judge is given Apple such a hard time. It has been ruled that Epic's problems are a "self infected wound" so why is this even a thing? What does Epic have that will take seven hours to go through?! Sounds more like they are on a fishing expedition.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
willyx Avatar
45 months ago

Don’t like the App Store? Go dev for Android. Or the open web. Very simple. App Store is more than fair.
Fortunately, the "fairness" of the App Store is not for you to judge :D
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
45 months ago

Tim Cook is not what best for Apple and the product innovation has been severely downgraded since 2015.
Yup.

Abject failures like AirPods and the M1 chip are here to remind us how terrible for Apple Cook is.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IllinoisCorn Avatar
45 months ago

I don't understand why this judge is given Apple such a hard time. It has been ruled that Epic's problems are a "self infected wound" so why is this even a thing? What does Epic have that will take seven hours to go through?! Sounds more like they are on a fishing expedition.
I'm an attorney. 7 hour depositions are not uncommon for a witness of this magnitude. I've been in depositions of a single witness that lasted days.

And yes, depositions are, in many respects, fishing expeditions. Different story when the witness is testifying at trial.

Tim will not be allowed to give corporate speak nonsense. He will be grilled. And I hope we get to see the video one day (I assume this deposition will be on video).
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kk200 Avatar
45 months ago

Such as? Did someone take you to the apple store and force you to buy an Apple product and NOT return it with in the 2 week return period?
You paid for you phone in full price. It is not a rent-phone. Apple has no right to tell you what you can use an what you cannot
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)