Judge orders Apple’s iOS and macOS chief to testify in Epic case

CEO Tim Cook will also be deposed as the case heads to trial.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook waves after speaking at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, June 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Apple’s iOS and macOS chief Craig Federighi will have to join CEO Tim Cook in testifying in the company’s case against Epic Games. Apple wanted Cook and App Store head Eric Neuenshwander (who reports to Federighi) to represent the company in the case. Epic asked for Federighi instead, believing he is "better able to that speak to the reasons for Apple’s closed, integrated ecosystem." US District Judge Thomas S. Hixson approved that request, according to court documents obtained by AppleInsider.

"If [Epic has] guessed wrong, and Federighi’s documents are not as relevant as Neuenschwander’s are, that hurts [Epic]," Hixson wrote in the ruling. "Assuming the requests are relevant and proportional, it is up to Plaintiffs to decide what discovery they want to take to prove their claims, and if they make bad choices, that’s their problem."

The court also rejected Apple's request to restrict Cook's deposition to four hours. Hixson ruled that time limits won't be set on Cook's appearance until after Epic receives documents from Apple. 

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Epic has asked Apple to produce extensive details on the App Store and how it works, including aggregate foreign sales data for apps that are also available in the US. According to a filing, it said that information was important "because it relates to the profitability of apps and the effect Apple’s monopoly has on developers’ willingness and/or ability to create apps." There will be a hearing in January to determine whether that information is relevant enough.

Apple and Epic have been at loggerheads after the latter tried to bypass the App Store's 30 percent cut of in-app transactions with a direct payment option in Fortnite in August. Apple pulled Fortnite from the App Store and the two sides have been engaged in litigation ever since. A trial has been set for next year. Epic is also in a battle with Google over similar issues.

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Judge orders Apple’s iOS and macOS chief to testify in Epic case