The U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California expressed dissatisfaction over the plaintiff’s key witness, Daniel McFadden in Apple’s App Store price-gouging case. Serving as the expert witness, McFadden has given a huge $7 to $10 billion in damages which Apple owes to iPhone customers for charging them “supra-competitive” prices for apps and in-app purchases on the App Store.
McFadden is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2000. He has submitted a six paragraphs methodology to calculate the damages’ amount.
Judge thrashes Nobel laureate’s math in Apple’s App Store price-gouging lawsuit
Unconvinced by the presented methodology, Judge Roger complained that the Nobel laureate calculation “gave us no math and pulls numbers out of the air.” The lawsuit was filed 10 years ago by four plaintiffs accusing the Cupertino tech giant of charging exorbitant prices is waiting to be granted class-action status on behalf of over 400 million App Store users. Bloomberg reports that:
In questioning lawyers for the consumers, Gonzalez Rogers repeatedly knocked McFadden’s work. At one point, she complained that he’d provided “just six paragraphs” to explain his methodology, adding “he’s not an expert in any of it.”
Gonzalez Rogers expressed doubts about how McFadden had used the online store operated by Epic Games, among others, to come up with a benchmark that he claims shows how much Apple has overcharged customers.
“What about the fact that it’s operating at a loss for the foreseeable future?” she asked the lawyers. “If you cherry pick your numbers, how is that methodology? And if I don’t agree with that, doesn’t the entire model fall?”
The lawyer for the customers told the judge that if his clients win the case, McFadden’s methodology would be used to compute individual damages Apple ID by Apple ID.
The Epic Games vs. Apple case used as a reference to calculate the damages’ amount ended in favor of Apple in which Epic made similar claims of users paying more because of the company’s high in-app purchases commission rate. Judge Rogers said that “success is not illegal.”