On Friday, he’s scheduled to testify in a lawsuit Fortnite maker Epic Games brought against Apple, defending the company’s policies demanding all apps meet guidelines from the company before they’re allowed to be made available to the public. Epic is pushing for that to change, saying it should be allowed to run its own app store for the iPhone, with its own payment technologies separate from Apple’s.
Cook’s appearance will cap the three-week trial, that’s already featured testimony from both companies’ executives, partner companies, economists and other experts. All of them are attempting to figure out whether Apple illegally wields monopoly power, as Epic claims, and if so what should be done. Cook’s testimony will likely include him addressing questions from lawyers on both sides of the courtroom and US District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make the ruling on the case.
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For Cook, this courtroom will represent the latest in a string of times he’s faced questions from a potentially hostile audience. In the past couple years, he’s found himself increasingly questioned by lawmakers and the press about his company’s substantial power.
Apple’s tallied more than 1 billion active iPhones in the world. Despite the coronavirus pandemic and economic catastrophe, Apple notched the largest sales and profit in its history during last year’s holiday shopping season. That’s helped push Apple’s value on Wall Street to more than $2 trillion.
Epic says some of Apple’s success was won through forcing developers to use its App Store, the only place users have ever been allowed to download apps for iPhones and iPads. Since launching the App Store in 2008, Apple’s held developers to a set of guidelines as well, including provisions requiring they use its payment processing service, which takes up to a 30% commission on sales of digital goods.
Cook is expected to begin testimony shortly after court goes into session on Friday at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET / 4 p.m. BST / 1 a.m. March 21 AEST. Testimony is likely to run the whole day.
The US District Court system has very strict rules about how proceedings are made available to the public. The audio isn’t allowed to be restreamed and can only be heard by dialing into a public conference call line where all participants are (typically) muted except for the court.
The dial-in number is 1 (877) 336-1839, and the access code is 9403112. Fair warning though, the audio quality often sounds like they’re talking while underwater, which is why we at CNET will have up-to-the-minute live updates here.
More information about the case can be found on the court’s website. You can also download the publicly available evidence submitted during testimony from a Box account set up by the lawyers for the trial.
What we can expect
One highlight of the trial has been Judge Rogers asking her own questions as well. That’s different from a a jury trial, where jurors must remain silent throughout the proceedings.