(Source: CNN Business) Apple and Epic Games' weeks-long antitrust trial came to a close on Monday, with the creator of the hit video game Fortnite calling Apple an "overlord" and Apple saying Epic is paving the way for a "scary" future for iOS users.
The two sides returned to where they started on Monday, fighting about how Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers could view Apple's position in a sprawling digital economy after spending days offering reams of dueling economic analysis and documentary evidence. The investigation findings could change the way digital app stores operate or help Apple maintain its dominance in the app ecosystem.
Gonzalez Rogers will determine in a matter of weeks whether Apple is an agile innovator who reaped only rewards for creating a booming app market. For instance, as Epic claims, a monopolist unlawfully harms competition, restricts creativity, and keeps prices high by controlling the iOS App Store.
After a three-week trial that saw top executives such as Apple CEO Tim Cook and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney called in for questioning, the judge said Monday she hopes to issue an opinion by mid-August. Still, given the thousands of pages produced by the landmark antitrust case, it might take longer.
Epic has claimed that Apple's walled-garden environment prevents iPhone and iPad applications from being downloaded from anywhere other than Apple's app store, effectively rendering Apple a monopoly owner. Epic argues that Apple's perceived monopoly allows it to enforce draconian conditions on iOS app developers, such as demanding a 30% cut on all in-app purchases of digital products and services.
Epic asked Gonzalez Rogers on Monday for an injunction prohibiting Apple from enforcing its policies and requiring Apple to allow third-party app stores to compete with its proprietary app store.
On Monday, she fought back hard against Epic, claiming that the company was asking her to "transform Apple's business model." She asked Epic's lawyer, Gary Bornstein, to include an example of a case involving private litigants that had resulted in that sort of result.
Epic also accused Apple of attempting to persuade the judge that it is a "benevolent overlord" of the iOS ecosystem and that it should be able to function without competition "because it's worked out okay so far."
Epic's lawyer said, "That is not a cover under the antitrust laws." (When Gonzalez Rogers claimed Apple couldn't be "benevolent" and anticompetitive at the same time, Epic's lawyer disagreed, saying Apple was merely "pretending to be a benevolent overlord" and needed to be honestly measured against competitors.)