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Apple asks judge to limit CEO Tim Cook’s testimony in Fortnite lawsuit

(Image Credit: Epic Games)
(Image Credit: Epic Games)
Izaak
ANALYST
Modified 02 Jan 2021, 00:27 IST
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Apple has reportedly asked to place a time limit how long CEO Tim Cook’s testimony can go in the upcoming Fortnite lawsuit.

The Fortnite Feud between Apple and Epic has died down to a quiet simmer this last month, with both companies turning their attention away from public perception in favor of a more legalistic approach.

Eager to get an edge over their competition, both companies have been attempting to get the case setup in their favor.

Apple hopes to limit their CEO’s involvement in the Fortnite court case

This ongoing Fortnite Feud between Apple and Epic Games came to a peak in August of last year when Epic introduced a way for Fortnite players to bypass Apple’s payment service when making in-game purchases.

This violated Apple’s agreement with Epic, and led to them pulling Fortnite from the App Store, effectively blocking Epic from updating Fortnite on all iOS devices.

Public perception of the core dispute between Apple and Epic has been framed largely by Epic’s CEO as a difference in philosophy, and it’s fair to say that Epic has more or less won the fight for public opinion. 

Epic argued that Apple ran a monopoly, something so illegal and antithetical to the principles of capitalism that they were justified in violating their agreement. Epic later drove this point home with a pre-planned public awareness campaign which heavily involved Fortnite.

Given that the core of Epic’s argument relies on the accusation that Apple’s business practices are fundamentally wrong, it’s likely that Apple’s CEO wants to limit how much Epic’s lawyers can pressure him on this facet.

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However, this request was denied by Judge Thomas Hixson. This ruling came alongside a statement that Apple would also need to provide Epic with key documents outlining the App Store’s business practices before they would go ahead with these depositions, saying that only after that information has been gathered can expected time limits be placed on the depositions.

Playing dirty or fair play?

When it comes to these kinds of legal battles, there’s no such thing as a dirty trick. Both companies’ lawyers are well funded and well educated; it’s likely they’ll make any case they think will earn them the sympathy of the judge.

A short limitation on how long Cook’s testimony can go would allow Cook to effectively draw out the clock and avoid providing any damning testimony to be used against him. Despite these early rulings seeming to go in favor of Fortnite, Epic will still have a difficult fight on their hands.

Under a strict reading of the law, Epic did violate their agreement with Apple. It will therefore be up to Epic to convince the court that this violation was legally justified.

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Apple only has to convince the court that their business practices are legally permissible, monopoly or not. While Apple may not be known for their fair business practices, being unfair or exploitative is not illegal.

For Fortnite players hoping for a swift decision to restore the game to iOS devices, it doesn’t look like there will be one anytime soon. Both companies have bunkered down and are getting ready for a long and drawn out fight.

Anyone affected by this feud who still wants to play Fortnite should look for an alternative system to play on. If this whole debacle has made Fortnite unappealing, then perhaps check out one of the other many successful games available on iOS.

Published 02 Jan 2021, 00:27 IST
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