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Tim Cook ordered to sit through 7-hour deposition in court battle with Epic Games

We’ve known for over a month now that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, is going to testify in the legal battle with Epic Games. But today we find out just how long at least one deposition is going to take.

According to a report from Gizmodo, Apple has been dealt not just one blow, but two, in a judge’s latest decision. First and foremost, Cook will need to sit through a 7-hour deposition. That decision was made by Judge Thomas X. Hixon. Interestingly, Epic Games was hoping to depose Cook for a total of eight hours. Apple argued that point, and tried to get the time down to just four hours.

However, the judge decided on seven hours.

According to Judge Thomas S. Hixon, however, “this dispute is less than meets the eye.” Hixon writes that the apex doctrine “limits the length of a deposition, rather than barring it altogether,” and that given the circumstances, the dispute is a question of whether Cook should be deposed for “four hours, eight hours, or some length of time in between.” Hence, Hixon’s ruling that Cook should be deposed for seven hours.

And while Apple tried to invoke the apex doctrine in its argument for Cook (and other executives) from being deposed at all, that didn’t work out:

As for where Hixon got seven hours from, the judge writes it’s the default rule for ‘how long a witness must suffer being deposed.’ Hixon also argues that the apex doctrine focuses on whether a witness has a ‘unique, non-repetitive knowledge of the facts of the case.’ When it comes to Apple’s app store policies—which are at the center of this seemingly never-ending case against Epic—Hixon writes ‘there is really no one like Apple’s CEO who can testify about how Apple views competition in these various markets that are core to its business model.’

Apple tried to get a subpoena for Samsung as part of the ongoing legal battle with Epic Games. The goal? To prove that its App Store policies are similar to what other digital storefronts offer. Judge Hixon denied that request, though. The judge said that this would be a “quirky deep dive” into the relationship between Samsung and Epic Games, and apparently that shouldn’t be measured in this trial.

That’s an interesting point, considering Epic Games’ and Samsung’s relationship has flourished after both Apple and Google removed the mega-popular game Fortnite from their digital storefronts — after Epic Games knowingly broke their rules.

So, Cook will be busy with all of this, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise. You can check out the timeline of all the events leading up to today’s news below.

The timeline

August 13, 2020

  • Epic Games updates Fortnite on the server-side, bypassing the App Store review process. It adds a direct payment option, breaking another rule in the process.
  • Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store due to Epic Games breaking the App Store rules.
  • Epic Games launches a media blitz, and it also sues Apple for anti-competitive behavior.
  • Epic launches “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”, a parody video of Apple’s original “1984” ad:

  • Google removes Fortnite from the Play Store, as Epic Games also violated the Play Store’s rules.
  • Epic sues Google, too.
  • Spotify weighs in! Unsurprisingly, it applauds Epic Games for its decision to stand up against Apple.

August 14, 2020

  • Facebook says Apple’s App Store fees make it impossible to help small businessesimpacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

August 17, 2020

  • Apple threatens to revoke Epic Games’ developer accounts for not only iOS, but also macOS. That cut-off is set to take place on Friday, August 28, 2020.

August 18, 2020

  • Apple issues an official statement on the matter in response to Epic Games.
  • Epic Games is revealed to have sought a coalition of “Apple critics” to help fight against Apple.

August 20, 2020

  • The Wall Street Journal and other news publications sign an open letter asking for Apple to reduce its App Store fees down to a standard 15%.

August 21, 2020

  • Epic Games promotes the #FreeFortnite Cup, or tournament, that is meant to bring even more attention against Apple, and is promoting “anti-Apple” prizes.
  • Epic sought special treatment for Fortnite before it declared war against Apple and the App Store’s guidelines.

August 24, 2020

  • Judge Gonzalez-Rogers rules that Apple does not need to reinstate Fortnite back into the App Store as the legal battle wages on. The judge also rules that Apple cannot revoke the Unreal Engine development tools, but it can still move forward with removing Epic’s developer account for iOS and macOS.
  • Apple says it agrees with the ruling made by Judge Gonzalez-Rogers, and is prepared to welcome Fortnite back onto iOS as soon as Epic Games is ready to follow the App Store guidelines.

August 26, 2020

  • Epic confirms that the new season of Fortnite, which is Marvel-themed, will not be available on iOS or Mac. Cross-platform functionality with those platforms is also removed.

August 28, 2020

  • Epic lets Fortnite players know in an email that it’s Apple’s fault they can’t play the new season of the game.
  • Apple revokes Epic Games’ App Store and developer accounts.

September 8, 2020

  • Apple countersues Epic Games in what it claims is a “breach of contract” related to its App Store practices.

September 9, 2020

  • Epic Games says Apple is going to disable the “Sign in with Apple” feature as soon as Friday, September 11.
  • Apple changes its mind regarding “Sign in with Apple”, allows existing customers to keep using it.

September 10, 2020

  • Epic Games CEO says Apple has “lost sight” of the tech industry’s “founding principles”

September 18, 2020

  • Epic Games shuts down Fortnite: Save the World for Mac as of September 23.

September 24, 2020

  • Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, and other companies create the “Coalition for App Fairness” to take on Apple’s and Google’s digital storefront policies.

September 28, 2020

  • U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers says the public’s opinion regarding the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games should be considered, suggests a jury should be involved.

October 7, 2020

  • Judge rules that the court battle between Apple and Epic Games will resume in May 2021.

November 5, 2020

  • Fortnite returns to iOS thanks to GeForce Now game streaming service, and only available via Safari.

December 17, 2020

  • Judge orders both Tim Cook and Craig Federighi to testify in the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games.

December 21, 2020

  • Epic Games sends out “Free Fortnite” loot boxes to influencers, trying to drum up support

January 14, 2021

  • Epic Games expands its legal battle with Apple and Google to the United Kingdom

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