Tim Cook plays innocent in Epic v Apple’s culminating testimony – TechCrunch

by Jeremy

Apple CEO Tim Cook took his first turn in the witness chair this morning in what is probably the most anticipated testimony of the Epic v. Apple antitrust case. But rather than a fiery condemnation of Epic’s shenanigans and allegations, Cook offered a mild, carefully tended ignorance that left many of the lawsuit’s key questions unanswered or unanswerable.

This anticlimax may not make for exciting reporting, but it could defy the dangerous if the somewhat dubious, argument that Apple’s App Store amounts to a monopoly.Tim Cook plays innocent in Epic v Apple’s culminating testimony – TechCrunch

After being called by Apple’s attorneys, Cook took the stand, Law360’s Dorothy Atkins, one of two media members allowed in the court, reported in her comprehensive live-tweeting of the testimony. The quotes from Cook are as written and not to be considered verbatim; the court transcript will follow when the document is compiled and public. Incidentally, Atkins’ stage-setting descriptions are appealing and humanizing, though Epic CEO Tim Sweeney comes off as a bit weird:

Sweeney is sitting at Epic’s counsel table looking down at his pen. His lawyer Gary Bornstein sporadically whispers in his ear. Cook seems relaxed, legs crossed. Just turned to someone sitting next took him, said something and then laughed.

— these trying times. (@doratki) May 21, 2021

The questioning of Cook by his own company’s counsel was gentle and directed at reiterating why Apple’s App Store is superior and sufficient for iOS users while also asserting the presence of stiff competition. He admitted to many conflicts with developers, such as differing priorities or needing to improve discovery, but said the company constantly retains developers and users. The facade of innocent ignorance began when he was asked about Apple’s R&D numbers — $15-20 billion annually for the last three years. Specifically, he said that Apple couldn’t estimate how much of that money was directed towards the App Store because “we don’t allocate like that,” i.e., research budgets for individual products aren’t broken out from the rest. Now, that doesn’t sound right, does it?

A company like Apple knows down the penny how much it spends on its products and research. Even if it can’t be perfectly broken down — an advance in MacOS code may play into a feature on the App Store — the company must know to some extent how its resources are being deployed and to what effect. The differences between a conservative and liberal estimation of the App Store’s R&D allocation might be significant, perhaps, in the hundreds of millions, but make no mistake; those estimations are almost certainly being produced internally. To do otherwise would be folly.

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