Apple claims Microsoft VP's Epic Games v. Apple testimony shouldn't be viewed as credible

Phoenix Wright
Phoenix Wright (Image credit: Capcom)

What you need to know

  • The Epic Games v. Apple trial has involved testimony from Microsoft's Lori Wright.
  • Apple claims Microsoft withheld key documents that would've helped with cross-examining her.
  • Apple wants the court to hit Wright with an adverse credibility finding.

Update May 7, 2021 at 4:59 p.m. ET: Microsoft has provided the following statement: "Lori Wright's testimony was credible and forthright, and Microsoft complied with its obligations to provide Apple with requested information. It is disappointing that Apple is trying to distract from legitimate industry concerns about its refusal to allow game streaming in the Apple App Store."

The Epic Games v. Apple trial rages on. Now that we're past bombshells such as Nintendo's yakuza namedrops in publishing contracts and Microsoft's adoration of The Last of Us Part 2, it's time for the real courtroom conflict to kick into high gear, starting with Apple's motion to diminish the credibility of Microsoft VP Lori Wright's testimony.

Though Microsoft publicly threw its support behind Epic Games quite a while back near the announcement of the lawsuit, there was a hope that the tech giant's employees and representatives would play fair when it came time to go on the stand in court. However, Apple's just-filed motion claims Microsoft VP Lori Wright deserves an "adverse credibility finding" due to Microsoft-withheld documents that Apple claims would've altered the course of its cross-examination efforts.

The full motion paints a detailed, legalese-riddled picture of what exactly Apple is accusing Microsoft and Epic of, but in short, it can be boiled down to deliberate omission of documents (with an underlying insinuation of collusion). Here's an excerpt from the motion:

"While Apple's cross-examination of Ms. Wright at trial was effective (and showed, for example, her clear bias in favor of Epic and against Apple), that cross-examination was hampered by Microsoft's failure to produce her documents to Apple."

The motion then details how Apple feels it was forced to cross-examine Wright with "one arm tied behind its back" before diving into why Microsoft should suffer ramifications for its actions.

"Microsoft's intentional withholding of relevant documents is not substantially justified. Indeed, it was on ample notice of the consequences of failing to produce relevant documents to Apple, and it has chosen to produce nothing. Nor is Microsoft's failure harmless. The opportunity for Apple to fairly examine Ms. Wright has passed."

The conclusion of the motion states Apple's request that the court "make an adverse credibility finding as to Ms. Wright." If the motion is granted, it'll be interesting to see what the consequences are. Could these back-and-forths stretch the trial out for an entire Fortnite?

Bad puns aside, keep checking back with Windows Central as we post updates on the latest news in the Epic Games v. Apple trial, otherwise known as the surprise tenth season of USA Network's Suits.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

28 Comments
  • Funny, I'm currently playing the Phoenix Wright games on my DSi.
  • Nice! I've never gotten around to playing them myself, but I've always meant to. Maybe I'll dip my feet in the water when the English versions of the Phoenix Wright games featuring Herlock Sholmes release.
  • I'm loving the original trilogy (didn't start the third game yet), you don't need to wait for those games you mentioned.
  • She was a horrible witness for Epic, imo, the judge was the one to tell Apple that the lack of documents would go towards her credibility. Apple should be moving for the documents and moving the court for an order as well. Its hard to know what Epic and Microsoft are trying to do, their business models are setup the same way. By the time this is over with, everyone is going to want to kick Timmy in the nuts. I loved it when she said Sony and Nintendo were Microsoft's competition, this is after years of Microsoft trying to convince Sony/Nintendo that they're not the competition. LOL
  • Sony and Nintendo "were" Microsoft's competition with Xbox consoles. Amazon and Google "will be" Microsoft's competition with Xbox cloud gaming. When argue in court, people talk about what has occurred, and they stop talking about their future plans in the future tense because those haven't happened yet. Instead you talk about that past that is written in stone and has evidence. "LOL"
  • Stadia is basically dead and Amazon still couldn't make a single game, so I doubt those will be actual competition.
  • She said they are their competition.
  • Microsoft is most likely behind part of this, Apple should probably move for all the documentation. What Epic/Microsoft are trying to say makes zero sense. Epic is directly paying Microsoft to access to Xbox hardware directly, with no way of by passing royalties. On iOS, Apple does allow Epic to bypass royalties by just not using the app for the payment. The testimony of MS was very damaging, Epic paying Sony all types of money. Its hard to understand where they think this is going, the EGS, Microsoft Store, Xbox, Azure, etc work the same basic way i.e. licensing. If Apple is abusing in an anti-trust way, than cool... they need to show it though.
  • Because maybe you are credible when you announce exeptionnal results in sanitory crisis on world, and smartphones in India, Asia, Africa, Argentina … ?
    Yes, it is, but at Wallstreet only, for reassures your buddies, and over.
  • Apple is so desperate, the longer they fight against the inevitable the more credibility they lose.
  • I think most people are still trying to figure what Epic's problem is, this is not going to end well for Epic. (but they got money to burn) If Epic gets what they want and it goes through the whole appeals process... say goodbye to all the big tech business models including Microsoft. I'm confused by Microsoft getting involved in this fight, they're attacking their own business model.
  • No they're not. The only part of the company that has a business model like this is Xbox, and they're already shifting to a subscription based model. They can better afford to give up some amount of their revenue sharing than their competitors. And they're doing business with developers on the backend with things like Azure, PlayFab, Teams and Visual Studio licenses, so they benefit more from developers having more money to spend on their services.
  • A subscription is just a license for a set amount of time, or say a number of cycle.... its a licensing model. They are actually suing for multiple things, but one of the key points is equal access. Services are still a license for the end user and/or developer. The Apple Store is a service, so? Epic isn't saying the device is a monopoly, the store is. Its retarded. Meaning, I use your service and I don't have to follow the agreement because well... its monopoly. Epic is saying anyone that controls 100% of what they control is an unlawful monopoly, no that is how business works. Under this term every freaking Store/Service is an unlawful monopoly.
  • The App Store is the only way to get apps on an iOS device.
  • So what? Countless devices (cars, boats, ships, airplanes, fridges, ovens, tvs, etc.) have no way for third party developers to put software on them at all. Devices don't have to be open, they don't even need a store or third party developers. Also, they are suing Google for the Play Store yet you can side load on Android. Its complete nonsense that nobody is going to understand. The devices are not a monopoly so they are saying the stores are a monopoly. (I guess) Yet, they are not suing everyone else and appear to be paying thru the nose on PS, Xbox and Switch.
  • The gist of what they are saying is... Walmart (or pick a store) has 100% control of what is sold in Walmart stores therefore its a monopoly and they won't let me play evenly with them. You (or they) can go to Target, and in this case other devices/platforms.
  • This is a weak analogy. There are no two companies in retail that hold anything like the duopoly power that Apple & Google hold over mobile computing. You have iOS or you have Android. Once those two companies figure out how to coordinate it is implicit collusion writ large. The use of the App store model which prior was limited to less significant narrow purpose devices made this process a piece of cake for both of them. That any company can sell a devices into a huge market at very healthy margins and turnaround lock those devices up then secondly charge providers of software 30% of their revenues to access people who already paid hefty money (at great margins to said company) for those devices inherently merits a hard look as to whether that is effected and maintained by natural market means. I mean, we already know this isn't the only possible model for software delivery, desktop is right there as a precursor. Why are the devices locked down for example? Why is only one App store allowed on the devices? Are these naturally occurring results that maximize utility or artificially created to boost a single company's profits at the expense of are more healthy marketplace?
  • "You have iOS or you have Android. " No, you have iOS, you have Android, you have Windows, you have countless distros of Linux, you have Unix, you have all types of OS and devices including mp3 players, tvs, voice control devices, computers in cars, boats, planes, toasters, fridges, etc. "That any company can sell a devices into a huge market at very healthy margins and turnaround lock those devices up then secondly charge providers of software 30% of their revenues to access people who already paid hefty money (at great margins to said company) for those devices inherently merits a hard look as to whether that is effected and maintained by natural market means. I mean, we already know this isn't the only possible model for software delivery, desktop is right there as a precursor. " Most devices third party developers are locked out completely, there is no store and if there is a store its by only strict contract you can get in.... there is no developers programs. You should try to sell your stuff at Walmart/Target and see what they do to you.... I know someone that does. Its not fun and its not open.... they put the squeeze on them. What Epic is saying is the Apple and Google Stores are monopolies based on they have 100% of control of the developers.... well that goes towards basically all enterprise not just electronics. This is why Apple is showing the court EGS works exactly the same, Epic is not saying the devices are monopolies... the stores are. Its backwards mentality i.e. Sweeney.
  • The crux of the issue is not the 30% cut to get into the store, it is the 30% cut on all future purchases within the app or service. This is unheard of in any retail store. For example, if I buy an Xbox or PS from Walmart, Walmart will have some kind of arrangement to get a cut of the profits from that sale. It could be a small percentage of sale price, xx agreement in sales gets xx dollars, or it could be upfront cost from Microsoft to purchase retail space to sell the product. Either way, what is not in that deal is that anything the consumer buys from within the Xbox must be paid back a percentage to Walmart. That is why alot of retailers will sell you extra services like extended warranty or installation so they can make more money off the sale. But once its left the store, any future sells is defined by the consumer's choices. Office 365 is probably the best comparable subscription to look at. I can buy a subscription straight from Walmart, Newegg, Amazon with often great deals. Some amount of that money is going to those retailers when I buy it from them. However, if I buy a computer, phone, or tablet and I sign up for Office 365 there, it is going to go 100% to Microsoft, not to the retailer. You can't do that with Apple. Apple would force Microsoft to give 30% cut of the subscription made in Office to Apple regardless. In other words, Apply is using their store monopoly to force vendors to always give them money to have access to the device. That is anti-competitive and hurts the market.
  • "The crux of the issue is not the 30% cut to get into the store, it is the 30% cut on all future purchases within the app or service. This is unheard of in any retail store." Epic has already admitted they could go around the 30% on iOS by just using the web browser for the transaction, which isn't even possible on Xbox, PS, and Nintendo devices. "In other words, Apply is using their store monopoly to force vendors to always give them money to have access to the device. That is anti-competitive and hurts the market." Like I said, every store is a monopoly then physical or digital in nature. Epic can go to other devices and other stores, or sell from their own Store. You seem to have the same position as them. "You can't do that with Apple. Apple would force Microsoft to give 30% cut of the subscription made in Office to Apple regardless." Actually you can, on Apple you can use the web browser and buy what you want.... which isn't possible on Microsoft Xbox. Either way Apple doesn't have a monopoly on electronic devices, heck they have a minority of the phone devices.
  • No, Microsoft's cross platform business model is hampered by the dominance of Apple & Google in mobile (since Microsoft failed to gain a foothold as a platform owner). Microsoft is the biggest software provider with no mobile platform, so they need to downgrade the stronghold that Apple & Google have over mobile, exactly the same way that Microsoft's stronghold on desktop was downgraded via antitrust rulings and allowed the rise of Google, and the revitalization of Apple. They know what is in their interest and they are acting on it. Got it?
  • Meh, screw apple.
  • Translation: Our (Apple's) lawyers didn't do a good job cross-examining Ms. Wright, so instead of blaming ourselves we are going to blame Microsoft.
  • No, they objected when they found out during questioning that MS was not disclosing, and asked the judge to basically strike her testimony. The judge is the one that said it can go towards credibility of the witness. The MS representative's testimony was bad for Epic anyway, imo.
  • So if the Microsoft's representative testimony was bad for Epic, then what sense does it make that Apple wants to downgrade her credibility? Sounds like you are trying to have it both ways.
  • If both parties agree to the facts, than its not a problem. If Apple is disagreeing with the testimony than they are saying she should be discredited. Not sure what the problem is there, I'm not sure why they got Microsoft involved. Although, I suspect MS is behind much of this... which is probably why they are hiding documents.
  • Who is this woman Lori Wright and how did she become the Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft? What does she know about games let alone Xbox? Is she a gamer? What has happened is clear. This woman has betrayed her ignorance of games in general and showed clearly that she is not fit for her role.
  • Are you seriously one of those people? You don't have to be a gamer to understand how the business side of Xbox works, you need to know business. That's why there isn't dedicated gaming Business degrees, because that would be stupid.