The news: Tim Cook took the witness stand in the Epic Games v. Apple antitrust trial on Friday. Cook's appearance wasn't nearly as entertaining as bananas in tuxedos, but he brought some Fortnite-worthy evasive moves when it came to pinning down Apple's financials.
More on this: Epic's primary claim against Apple is that its 30% App Store cut constitutes an illegal monopoly, so prosecutors circled back to profitability multiple times throughout questioning, per the Washington Post's liveblog. Cook evaded with an anecdote about Steve Jobs and saying he "feels" the App Store is profitable, but wouldn't point to a number.
Why it's worth watching: The high-stakes trial addresses Big Tech's grip over the mobile app economy. At issue are some fundamental questions about:
What's next: Closing arguments are scheduled for this week, but a final verdict could take months. It's been an uphill battle for Epic to prove Apple's commission is not only an illegal monopoly, but that Apple also uses its power to hurt competitors and distort the market in its own favor. The judge's own questioning on Friday hints that it may come down to whether Apple's terms serve users' best interests.
Regardless of the trial's outcome, Apple still faces scrutiny for its App Store fees from EU and US regulators. This is just the first epic battle in Big Tech's escalating antitrust wars ahead.
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