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Apple CEO Tim Cook takes witness stand for first time ever in antitrust case

Apple CEO Tim Cook has never before appeared in federal court, but will do so Friday when he takes the stand in a civil case brought by Epic Games. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Apple CEO Tim Cook has never before appeared in federal court, but will do so Friday when he takes the stand in a civil case brought by Epic Games. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 21 (UPI) -- Apple CEO Tim Cook will make his first-ever courtroom appearance and testify on Friday as part of an antitrust case between the tech giant and Epic Games, in what some say is the industry's version of "David vs. Goliath."

Cook will appear to defend Apple as the case winds down. It began at federal court in California earlier this week.

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At the heart of the case is Epic's highly successful game Fortnite. Despite its success, Apple kicked Fortnite off its app store last year for breaking rules concerning digital payments.

Epic says that Apple charges up to 30% for in-app purchases on Apple devices and has essentially monopolistic control over the sector. That control, Epic argues, often forces app makers to enter into unfair agreements to access millions of iPhone and iPad users.

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Apple counters that there are plenty of other app stores that Epic Games can use to distribute its products.

Industry insiders say, in this case, Apple is playing the role of Goliath and Epic David.

"Tim Cook's going to have to show that the reason they had these fees was not to maintain their dominance or squeeze money out of somebody, but rather, it was critical to maintaining a business and there's nothing unfair about it," Jeffrey Jacobovitz, a former Federal Trade Commission attorney, told The Wall Street Journal.

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Several executives on both sides have already testified in the civil case, including former Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, Apple software head Craig Federighi and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.

Cook has appeared in the U.S. Congress before to testify about Apple's business practices, but he's never appeared in federal court. Some analysts believe Cook's testimony Friday will set a tone for Apple's fight against growing antitrust complaints.

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