SA's Wall Street Breakfast: The rising sun
SEEKING ALPHA reports: It took over 34 years, but trading floors across Tokyo today erupted in ...
SEEKING ALPHA‘s Wall Street Breakfast daily is now out:
The three-week-old antitrust trial between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Epic Games will wrap up on Monday, but not before an appearance from a high-profile defendant. CEO Tim Cook will take the stand today before the companies make their closing arguments and Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issues a final ruling (neither side wanted a jury trial). Other executives from both firms have already testified, including Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering; Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow and former longtime head of marketing, as well as Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.
Backdrop: The legal fight started last year when Epic created its own direct payment method within popular game Fortnite, circumventing fees paid for App Store purchases. Apple then issued a warning to Epic regarding the workaround, but the latter refused to remove it, and Apple kicked the developer off its platform. The current lawsuit then emerged, while companies like Spotify (SPOT) and Match Group (MTCH) have also accused the App Store of being anti-competitive.
While Tim Cook has testified before Congress in the past, today will mark the first time he has ever taken the witness stand in a trial. Apple seems to have the edge in terms of legal precedent in the case, but a loss could inflict heavy casualties on the tech giant’s lucrative App Store operation. In fact, Apple’s Services Segment, which includes the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud and Apple TV+, brought in an eye-popping $53.7B in revenue during 2020.
Flashback from July 2020: The last time Cook appeared before the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, commercial, and administrative law, he had the following to say. “Apple does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business. That is not just true for iPhone, it is true for any product category. Our commissions are comparable to or lower than commissions charged by the majority of our competitors and we have never raised the commission or added a single fee.” (7 comments)
A market comeback on Thursday helped the major averages break a three-day losing streak, while U.S. stock index futures tacked on another 0.3% overnight. Some “buy the dip” action may be happening, though fresh data showed the lowest level of jobless claims since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. According to figures from the Labor Department, 444,000 Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ending May 15, down from 478,000 in the previous seven days.
Worries remain: “I think people are still concerned by the volatile moves that we’re having in our market,” said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners. “In reality, people are still apprehensive about what the economy will look like one month from now, two months from now, six months from now.” Rising inflation and an overheated recovery could trigger the Fed to pare back easy-money policies, while tapering talk was head at the latest FOMC meeting…
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