Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Arguments Wrap in Epic v. Apple

Elizabeth Lopatto, the Verge:

Throughout the trial, Epic’s general strategy appears to have been to stuff the record as full of evidence as possible — just in case it’s needed on the inevitable appeal. To do that, Epic sacrificed telling a coherent story.

Apple, on the other hand, was on brand. It had a clear story and it spent the entire trial hammering it home: Apple controls the App Store because the alternative would be a security and privacy nightmare. Whether it was Swanson, Moye, or Doren at the podium, this story didn’t waver, just as it mostly didn’t waver throughout the rest of the trial. (Tim Cook biffed this by citing a business model and not mentioning security.) Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing guru, sat at the table with the lawyers throughout the trial; from time to time, I found myself wondering how involved he was in crafting the lawyers’ messaging.

Both parties agreed that the top two issues of the day were market definition and remedies. Who you will agree with in the end is going to depend on how the market is defined, I suspect.

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

At the conclusion of the trial, Judge Rogers said that she expects that her verdict will take quite some time, but she did not provide a concrete date. It could be several weeks before we hear about the Epic Games v. Apple trial again, and it’s quite likely that any decision will be appealed, so this is a lawsuit that could carry on for months to come.

Like last year, the days leading up to WWDC are complicated by antitrust questions and developer dissatisfaction. Judge Rogers will not have a verdict until the conference has long passed. But it comes in the aftermath of days of testimony in which Apple’s executive team stubbornly stuck to a business case that confirmed developers’ longstanding frustrations.

I am not sure if I wrote this publicly, but in discussions with friends, I have long maintained that Epic is a bad plaintiff in this case. It is hard to sympathize with a developer that is suing over a single-digit percentage of its revenues because of a contract dispute that it initiated in bad faith, and where it is clear that it hopes to develop its own platform that will have similarly stringent rules. But this trial has surely put a big dent in Apple’s reputation. If you thought before that Apple was an overly controlling corporate giant that squeezed money at every possible opportunity, its executives’ testimony reinforced that. Even if you are comfortable with Apple’s business case, Tim Cook’s cold remarks must have shaken some of that confidence.

In a little under two weeks, WWDC will begin. Like last year, I am sure Cook and Federighi are relieved they will not have to face developers in person. That would be awkward.