The Epic v. Apple trial has concluded, and now we wait. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers heard the closing arguments from both sides on Monday and said that she hopes to issue a decision by mid-August, though it could take longer than that, given the significant amount of paperwork generated by the case.
Late last week, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and Apple CEO Tim Cook took the witness stand and yesterday lawyers for both sides wrapped up their arguments. Neither provided anything that could be considered substantial beyond the statements that have already been heard — in some cases, for onwards of nine months now. Epic says Apple operates a monopoly inside the “walled garden” of the App Store, while Apple claims to be a “benevolent overlord” and the measures it puts in place — and the 30% fee it charges — are for the benefit of the users and developers.
Judge Gonzalez Rogers did issue interesting comments on some of the testimony, as reported by CNN. She told Apple that “if there was real competition, that number [30%] would move and it hasn’t,” to which Apple responded by saying that it has reduced commissions several times, such as for small businesses. The judge also mused over “potential restrictions she could impose on Apple under California law.”
The judge also told Epic that the company was basically asking her to change Apple’s business model, a move without an exact analog, though Epic offered up a few similar cases. “It is a pretty significant step that courts haven’t done,” she said, and it would, in CNN’s words, “represent a serious break from history.”
So now we wait, for potentially three months or more. Based on her pointed questioning of both sides, I’d think that Judge Gonzalez Rogers is going to find a middle ground between the two parties that likely won’t make either particularly happy. That said, if any side will be considered to have “won” the case, I think Apple holds the slight edge, as the judge probably isn’t likely to try and overturn a private company’s business model without major proof of wrongdoing, which it doesn’t appear Epic has provided.