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Tuesday 20th March 2018

US Supreme Court Allows Lawsuit Over iPhone Apps

Business

7Dnews London

Mon, 13 May 2019 17:44 GMT

A divided Supreme Court ruled, on Monday, May 13th, that consumers can pursue an antitrust lawsuit that claims Apple has unfairly monopolised the market for the sale of iPhone apps.

New Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court's four liberals in rejecting a plea from Cupertino, California-based Apple to end the lawsuit over the 30% commission the company charges software developers whose more than 2 million apps are sold through the App Store, according to AP.

iPhone users who must purchase software for their smartphones exclusively through Apple's App Store filed the suit.

Apple keeps 30% of the sale price, where it is set, Kavanaugh said in a summary he read from the bench. "In other words, Apple, as retailer, pockets a 30% commission on every app sale," said Kavanaugh, one of President Trump's two high court appointees.

That was enough to persuade the court, at this early stage of the legal fight, that the lawsuit can continue, he said.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's other pick, wrote a dissent for four conservative justices. The consumers' complaint against Apple is the kind of case earlier high court rulings said was not allowed under federal laws that prohibit unfair control of a market, Gorsuch wrote.

Apple had argued it is merely a pipeline between app developers and consumers, and that iPhone users have no claims against Apple under antitrust law.

The suit could force Apple to cut the commission it charges software developers. A judge could triple the compensation to consumers under antitrust law if Apple ultimately loses the suit.

There has been exponential growth in the availability of apps since Apple created the App Store in 2008 with 500 choices.

"'There's an app for that' has become part of the 21st-century American lexicon," Kavanaugh said.

The case is Apple Inc. v Pepper, 17-204.


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