Epic Games has been embroiled in a legal battle with Apple for the past few months regarding the latter's business model of taking a 30% cut from in-app purchases. In August, Apple kicked Fortnite out of the App Store for circumventing its payment system, and in return, was sued by Epic. The legal battle has been raging on since then, with some tech giants such as Microsoft supporting Epic. Today, Apple has faced some setbacks in its ongoing case.
As spotted by Gizmodo in court documents dated January 26, Epic initially proposed that Apple CEO Tim Cook must be deposed for eight hours, which Apple tried to reduce to four hours by citing the apex doctrine. However, Judge Thomas S. Hixon has now stated that Cook must face deposition for seven hours, during which the executive will testify about Apple's business model and practices.
The second setback is that Judge Hixon has refused Apple's request to subpoena Samsung's internal documents. The Cupertino firm had made this request because it believed that those documents would prove that its business model is not significantly different from Samsung's, which if proven true, would make Epic's antitrust case weak. However, Judge Hixon has highlighted the subpoena as "a quirky deep dive" into the Samsung-Epic relationship and denied the request.
While both these rulings aren't outright victories for Epic, they are certainly challenges for Apple, as they also weaken its similar subpoena requests against Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, among others. As it stands, Tim Cook will be deposed for seven hours ahead of the trial in May 2021, which will hopefully see the court reach a decision as to whether Apple's business model is anti-competitive or not.