Apple Inc. lawyers plan to put Chief Executive Tim Cook on the witness stand Friday to help drive home its defense against Epic Games Inc.’s antitrust claims.
With the bench trial in Oakland, Calif., nearing its expected end on Monday, Mr. Cook would follow other Apple executives this week who tried to counter arguments by Epic that Apple improperly prohibits competing app stores on the iPhone and forces in-app purchases for digital payments through its own system that takes as much as a 30% cut.
Apple’s case has depended upon it pointing to Android phones, personal computers and videogame consoles as examples of how it isn’t the only way for Epic to distribute its “Fortnite’’ game, and underscoring that other platforms collect a similar commission.
Mr. Cook is expected to emphasize how much economic value Apple’s investment in the app economy has created for developers, which fits into claims from Apple’s lawyers that its fees are fair. Apple has told the court he will speak about the company’s values and discuss its business, operations and competition, as well the history of the App Store’s creation.
His testimony will be closely monitored well beyond the courtroom as Apple faces increasing threats from lawmakers and regulators around the world examining the power it has over third-party software developers.