Epic Games v. Apple Trial Wraps Up, But We Likely Won't Know the Outcome for Months
The three week Epic Games v. Apple trial wrapped up today, with a series of debates that were held in lieu of traditional closing arguments. The wrap up follows Apple CEO Tim Cook's testimony last week, which saw him grilled by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on Apple's App Store policies.
As outlined by Protocol, at the conclusion of the trial, Rogers aimed to get at the heart of the dispute and determine what remedies might ultimately be appropriate.
As she did earlier in the trial, Rogers hinted that she may be leaning toward something of a compromise with a ruling that would see Apple required to allow apps like Fortnite to direct users to make purchases on the web rather than in apps, something that's currently forbidden by the App Store rules.
In this scenario, Apple would be required to relax its "anti-steering" restrictions, but the rest of the iOS ecosystem would remain untouched and would function as normal. Apple's lawyers attempted to say that Apple's anti-steering rules are meant to improve transaction efficiency, but Cook's testimony undermined that argument. "Cook conceded that it's a method of being compensated for intellectual property," Rogers said.
Epic's lawyers argued that iOS should be opened up to competing app stores. Apple could still offer the security and privacy of the current App Store, but with third-party app stores, customers would have a choice. Epic's closing argument pointed toward the Mac as an example of what iOS should look like.
Apple's lawyers argued that consumer choice already exists because people can choose Android, and that the changes that Epic Games wants implemented would ruin the iPhone by making it less secure with apps that are impossible to curate or moderate. Epic wants Apple to "drop its gloves and stand in the middle of the arena and take what comes without any meaningful defense," Apple's lawyer said.
Rogers was not particularly convinced by Epic's argument because it would result in such a drastic change to the App Store. Epic Games could not demonstrate similar antitrust cases where the extreme kind of outcome it is asking for had been granted by a court.
At the conclusion of the trial, Judge Rogers said that she expects that her verdict will take quite some time, but she did not provide a concrete date. It could be several weeks before we hear about the Epic Games v. Apple trial again, and it's quite likely that any decision will be appealed, so this is a lawsuit that could carry on for months to come.