As Apple’s legal battle with Epic Games continues, a judge in the case has made a pair of decisions unfriendly to Apple. First off, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been ordered to sit for a 7-hour deposition in the case. The judge has also rejected Apple’s attempt to subpoena Samsung as part of the case.
As reported by Gizmodo, the court documents reveal that Epic Games had originally wanted to depose Cook for eight hours. Apple then cited the apex doctrine, which can prevent high-level executives from being deposed at all, before conceding to four hours.
The judge in the case, however, has decided that Cook can be deposed by Epic Games for 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.
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.”
Secondly, Judge Hixon has denied Apple’s request to subpoena internal documents from Samsung. Apple had pushed to subpoena Samsung’s internal communications to help prove that App Store policies are similar to other companies’ policies, but Hixon referred to this as “a quirky deep dive” into Samsung and Epic’s relationship.
For more context, the relationship between Epic and Samsung has blossomed amid Epic’s disputes with Apple and Google. Epic has often touted that while you can no longer get Fortnite from the App Store or Play Store, it remains available on the Galaxy Store.
As a refresher, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store because Epic Games implemented its own payment process system for in-app purchases that evaded Apple’s In-App Purchase system. The two companies are currently engaged in a legal battle, with a trial set for later this year in the United States.
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