Lawyers for Apple and Fortnite-maker Epic Games on Monday began making their final arguments to a judge deciding whether the Cupertino Colossus is abusing a monopoly that hurts third-party software developers.
They began debating a familiar topic: how to define the market at the center of the case. Epic would like U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to consider the distribution of apps on iPhones as the market while Apple (AAPL) emphasized that there are many competing devices.
Judge Gonzalez Rogers will rule on Epic’s claim that Apple has improperly prohibited third-party app stores on the iPhone and required app developers to use its in-app payment system that takes a commission of as much as 30%.
Apple has denied it is a monopoly, pointing to other ways Epic’s game “Fortnite” can be distributed. The company has said its rules around the app store ensure the safety and reliability of apps for users. Apple has argued its fees are similar to others and that Epic is merely trying to get out of paying its fair share.
Instead of traditional closing arguments held before a jury, the judge had asked the two sides to prepare for a debate-style end to the trial that has lasted more than three weeks in Oakland, Calif.
On Monday, Apple defended its 30% commission. “That commission rate wasn’t created by Steve Jobs,” Dan Swanson, an Apple lawyer, said of the company’s late co-founder. The price came from what was found on a digital videogame distribution platform called Steam and was cheaper than what was found in physical stores at the time, Mr. Swanson said.
MacDailyNews Take: The judge has said it would take her several weeks to render a verdict which is almost as big a joke as this trial itself.