Epic vs. Apple Trial: Tim Cook, Tim Sweeney and the Other Key Players in 'Fortnite' Maker's Antitrust Lawsuit
A Wall Street Journal Roundup
Epic Games Inc.'s antitrust case against Apple Inc. is one of
the tech industry's biggest legal battles in years. Here are some
people likely to play key roles in the trial, which is expected to
run through most of May.
Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers
U.S. District Judge Gonzalez Rogers, nominated by former
President Obama and confirmed in 2011, has presided over the
Epic-Apple case since August. The Houston native has heard cases
involving Apple previously, including one that eventually went to
the Supreme Court over the company's requirement that all phone
software be downloaded through the App Store and whether that
resulted in higher prices for consumers. She ruled in Apple's favor
that iPhone owners couldn't sue the company on antitrust grounds
because they weren't direct purchasers from Apple, a decision
reversed on appeal.
Mr. Cook, Apple's chief executive since 2011, is expected to
testify about the company's corporate values and operations, the
launch of the App Store and the competition that Apple faces. He
has defended the company's App Store practices, saying in a
congressional hearing last year that they help create a reliable
and secure user experience. Under his leadership, Apple's market
value has risen to more than $2.2 trillion from around $350
The co-founder and CEO of Epic has been a critic of Apple's
business practices, saying the tech giant's fees result in higher
costs to developers and unfairly restrict competition by not
allowing competing app stores on iOS devices. Mr. Sweeney helped
mastermind a plan called "Project Liberty" that drew Apple into a
fight in Epic's bid to challenge Apple's rules.
In addition to developing "Fortnite" and other games, Epic owns
video-chat app Houseparty and makes the Unreal Engine, a suite of
software tools for developing games and producing special effects
for television shows, movies and other types of digital
One of Apple's lawyers is Ms. Dunn, a partner at Paul Weiss
Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP. Ms. Dunn represented Apple in
its lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc. over patent-licensing fees and
Uber Technologies Inc. in its legal battle against Alphabet Inc.'s
Mr. Doren, a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, is also
on Apple's legal team. He made appearances in court on Apple's
behalf last year in hearings on pretrial motions.
Epic is working with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP on the
lawsuit and Ms. Forrest, one of the firm's attorneys, is expected
to help the game company argue its case. Ms. Forrest is a former
New York federal judge and Justice Department antitrust
Also part of Epic's legal team is Mr. Bornstein, co-head of
Cravath's litigation department, with a focus on antitrust, merger
and acquisition and securities litigation.
The longtime Apple executive and friend of the late Steve Jobs
helped remake the company from a struggling computer maker into the
world's biggest by market value, playing a key role in the launches
of the iPod, iPhone and iPad as well as in Apple advertising. Mr.
Schiller, whose current title is Apple Fellow, is expected to
testify about Apple's business, the App Store's business model, the
iOS operating system and iPhone development and launch.
Ms. Wright, vice president of Xbox business development at
Microsoft Corp., is one of the third-party witnesses expected to
testify during the call. Epic and Apple have called her to testify
about software distribution, Xbox cloud gaming and her company's
interactions with Apple. Microsoft is among companies that has
significant dealings with both Epic and Apple because it is a game
publisher, hardware developer and operates a game software
Apple's senior vice president of software engineering oversees
the development of iOS and macOS. Mr. Federighi, a longtime Apple
executive, is expected to be called to testify by Apple and Epic
about iOS and issues related to app security.
Epic and Apple plan to call Mr. Forstall, the former head of
Apple's mobile-software unit, to testify about operating systems
for mobile devices and PCs, historical App Store policies and
Apple's in-app purchasing function. He left Apple nearly a decade
ago in one of Mr. Cook's earliest management shake-ups as CEO.
According to a deposition cited in court filings, Mr. Forstall was
among people who helped convince Mr. Jobs to enable third-party
native app development on the iPhone.
Epic is slated to present testimony from Mr. Barnes, a forensic
accountant who is a managing director at consulting firm Berkeley
Research Group. Just days before the trial, Apple filed a motion to
close the courtroom for the entirety of Mr. Barnes's testimony amid
concern that his analysis of App Store financials could "confuse
the securities markets." The court denied a blanket seal and
enabled parts of his written testimony to be sealed.
The professor of operations, information and decisions at
University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is slated to be one of
Apple's expert witnesses. Mr. Hitt, who has studied competition in
electronic markets, has provided testimony that the App Store
competes with other digital game transaction platforms and
consumers can fluidly move between them.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 02, 2021 11:47 ET (15:47 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.