Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stand on Friday for the final day of testimony in the Epic v. Apple antitrust trial. It was Cook's first time testifying in court, though he was well prepared to argue Apple's point of view around the dangers of opening up the iOS ecosystem and why Apple operates its business the way it does.
While Cook largely reiterated many of the same arguments fellow executives Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi made earlier this week, he was more adamant in his insistence that Apple stands alone in its ability to protect smartphone owners from a world of threats that includes their own bad judgement.
"I think we care more than others do … I think there's some people that really want that, and therefore buy an iPhone because of it," Cook argued in front of Epic lawyer Gary Bornstein, who questioned whether Apple was "unique" in its ability to protect its users and whether it was true Apple "had a monopoly on privacy."
"When they buy an iPhone today, they buy something that just works. I think they buy into a total ecosystem when they buy an iPhone," Cook said. Bornstein presented Cook with the notion that Apple has no idea if it's more dangerous to open up the iOS ecosystem because it has not once allowed it in the iPhone's nearly 15 years of existence. "It's an experiment I wouldn't want to run," Cook replied. Cook said his assertion that a more open IOS would be "terrible for the user" to be based on his "business judgment."
Cook's comments echo those of Federighi, who surprised the courtroom and longtime Apple observers on Wednesday when he testified that the macOS operating system had a level of malware that was "not acceptable," effectively implying the Mac is unsafe when compared to the level of security enjoyed by iPhone owners. That's because on the Mac, users are allowed to download software from unauthorized third-party sources on the internet.
The goal of Federighi's testimony was to ensure Epic's legal team could not argue the iPhone be opened up just like the Mac, which has an Apple-operated App Store but allows users the freedom to download unvetted software of their choosing. Federighi used a car metaphor, saying that cars are designed to be more capable but that the freedom of a car also makes them dangerous if driven recklessly. "If operated correctly, much like that car, if you know how to operate a car and obey the rules of the road and are very cautious, yes," Federighi said when asked whether the macOS platform is safe. "If not, I've had a couple of family members who have gotten some malware on their Macs."