Apple CEO faces tough questioning as Epic Games trial wraps up

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the WWDC 2020 keynote.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the WWDC 2020 keynote. (credit: Apple)

Apple CEO Tim Cook faced pointed questioning from Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers during his long-awaited testimony in the Epic Games v. Apple trial Friday.

Following hours of questioning and cross-examination from Apple’s and Epic’s lawyers, Rogers wrapped up nearly three weeks of witness testimony with an extended back-and-forth with Cook. She began by asking about a hypothetical situation in which Fortnite‘s in-game V-Bucks currency was available for a lower price on the web than through the iOS app itself. What would be wrong with the app presenting users with the option to make that more affordable purchase—or at least providing that information to the users in the app?

Cook responded that “if you allow people to link out like that, you would essentially give up the total return on our IP.” Earlier in his testimony, Cook said by way of analogy that letting apps direct consumers to commission-free purchase options outside of the App Store “would be akin to Apple going out to Best Buy, putting a sign there where we advertise you can go across the street to the Apple Store to buy an iPhone. If the effort goes into transacting with the customer [in the app], it seems like it ought to happen in the app.”