Technology

What's Up With Apple: Mr. Cook Goes to Court, Tussle with Microsoft and More

If it seems like much of the news out of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) these days resembles the last half of an episode of Law & Order. Well, that’s just because we pixel-stained wretches know that Americans can’t get enough of a good courtroom melodrama. Alas, the Apple v. Epic Games trial is nearing its end, a conclusion presaged by the expected appearance in the courtroom Friday of Apple CEO Tim Cook. This is Cook’s first-ever appearance in federal court.

After Apple’s attorneys lob some softball questions at Cook, Epic’s lawyers will get the chance to toss him a few curves and sliders. Epic is seeking relief from Apple’s grip on app developers for the company’s iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. Apple is defending itself by claiming that its controlled access to the App Store protects its customers by giving them secure access to apps that have been vetted by Apple for consistency with the devices’ user experience.

Whichever way the ruling goes, the drama won’t end any time soon. That’s because Apple isn’t the only huge tech company being challenged in court and by government agencies around the world with essentially unlawfully exercising their enormous market power to stifle competition. Amazon, Google and Facebook, along with Apple, are the “new gatekeepers of the digital economy,” according to Bloomberg News. Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a professor of antitrust law at Vanderbilt, told Bloomberg, “Win or lose, the case has the potential to draw more attention to this really serious problem of market power held by tech platforms acting as gatekeepers.”

In a legal filing late Wednesday night, Apple’s lawyers asked Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to ignore testimony from a Microsoft executive who testified on Epic’s behalf earlier in the trial. According to a Bloomberg report, in the filing Apple is accusing Epic of being a stalking horse for Microsoft: “A reasonable observer might wonder whether Epic is serving as a stalking horse for Microsoft. Microsoft shielded itself from meaningful discovery in this litigation by not appearing as a party or sending a corporate representative to testify.”

Microsoft has denied the allegations:

Apple is trying to distract from legitimate concerns from many companies across the industry about its App Store policies and practices, including its refusal to allow game streaming in the Apple App Store. Epic speaks and acts for itself, and Microsoft and many other companies have raised concerns through our own voices, including directly with Apple itself.

Hardware website Tom’s guide has published a story that includes rendered images of Apple’s coming Apple Watch 7. The computer renderings are based on Apple images sent to Jon Prosser, an industry insider who hosts a YouTube channel devoted to rumors about Alphabet and Apple products.

Finally, a former Apple customer relations employee has come up with a solution to an annoying bug with iPhone notifications that Apple has been unable to fix and that has generated nearly 100 pages of comments on Apple’s Communities website. It appears that the problem was first reported to Apple last September.

A post dated May 15 signed by “StubbornPixie” suggests one way to resolve the issue:

Anyway – Just wanted to let everyone know that I finally I fixed [sic] my issue after 6 months of this nonsense. I bought a Samsung Galaxy A12 for $180. And I haven’t missed a notification since. Is it the best phone ever? Nah. Is it functional? Yeah. Have I died from using it? Nah. Good enough. Good luck yall. I’ll be following the thread on my new phone.

That’s probably not how Apple would prefer to solve its technical problems.