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U.S. Supreme Court to Review Whether Lawsuit Accusing Apple of App Store Monopoly Should Proceed

In 2011, a class action lawsuit filed against Apple accused the company of operating an illegal monopoly by not allowing iPhone users to download mobile apps outside of its own App Store, reducing consumer choice.


The antitrust case was eventually dismissed in 2013 by a U.S. district court in Northern California, due to errors in the complaint, leading to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowing it to proceed in 2017.

That decision led to Apple's petition for a writ of certiorari, which was granted today, meaning that the U.S. Supreme Court will now review the appeals court's decision to reinstate the case last year, according to Reuters.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in support of Apple, urging the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit's decision, arguing that it misapplied precedent from Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois.

From the start, Apple has argued that it doesn't set prices for paid apps, and that charging a 30 percent commission on the distribution of paid apps and in-app purchases does not violate antitrust laws in the United States.

Apple will now hope the Supreme Court agrees that the case should be dismissed again. No date has been disclosed for the hearing.



Top Rated Comments

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5 weeks ago
If someone doesn't like being tied down to the App Store, then simply don't buy an iPhone. It's common sense.
Rating: 48 Votes
5 weeks ago
Considering the protections the App Store provides, this is an instance where more choice probably won't be better for consumers.
Rating: 39 Votes
5 weeks ago
This is not going to go anywhere because it's not a Monopoly.
Rating: 30 Votes
5 weeks ago

If someone doesn't like being tied down to the App Store then simply don't buy an iPhone. It's common sense.

Somehow that argument didn't work in favor of Microsoft..if you didn't like internet explorer, you didn't have to buy a Windows desktop.
Rating: 24 Votes
5 weeks ago

It is a vertical monopoly.

Prove it. You didn't have to buy an Apple product.

This kind of nonsense is a waste of time because people have choices. Once you're an Apple customer, they can do whatever they want and if you don't like it, leave. No Monopoly. It's Apple's prerogative if they want to be as vertically integrated as possible.
Rating: 23 Votes
5 weeks ago
This is no different than the fact you're limited to shopping at the onboard stores when you take a cruise.
Rating: 17 Votes
5 weeks ago
What happens if you allow sideloading? You'll get an Amazon iPhone app store that will only charge 5% (instead of 30%) to host your app and get you into the "Largest and most respectable third-party app store". Fewer people will bother uploading to Apple's app store to avoid the costs/queue. The real app store will wither, while the crapp store will flourish. iOS will quickly be swarmed with sketchy/malicious apps and we'll be asking ourselves how we let this happen ...all because people suck and can't be trusted to build apps that don't exploit users.
Rating: 16 Votes
5 weeks ago
Most people here don't understand what monopoly actually means.
You don't need to be the only player, it's enough to have sufficient market share. Otherwise google wouldn't have been subject to regulation in the past. Everyone can choose a different search engine if they want to. However, we are not only talking about users, but also the other side. In case of google: the websites. If your business isn't found using google, what happens? Loss of revenue.

This is not about iPhone users, but developers!
If that's not clear enough: as a dev you are not free to choose the plattform. If you don't have an App on the Play Store and the App-Store your app revenues will be ZERO.
Although, for Android you can upload the APK to your website and provide the download link upon payment if google decides to kick you out.
How do you that for iPhones? XCode? Only with open source. Now tell me again how Apple does not qualify as monopolist.

The App-Store is the only way devs can reach customers. However, Apple is exercising a policy on the App Store where it won't publish Apps of similar behaviour or for whatever other arbitrary reason (see Steam). In it's current state the App-Store is not a capitalistic market place, but Apples app-selection. Also, when you re-install you phone, your purchased App my no longer be available as Apple removed it from the App-Store.

As more plattforms implement this store concept it requires a legal framework. Especially when it comes to change of Terms & Conditions. New T&C can't be forced upon customers that have made a purchase without the possiblity of a refund (i.e. 100% in the first year, 50% in the 2nd and 25% in the 3rd year). Currently, this "here, have our new T&Cs! If you don't like them you may quit and lose all your paid apps." is a bad joke.
Also a store provider must not delete any purchased app without due notice to make a local backup.
A store provider must publish all apps if they fullfill plattform requirements & pass QC and security checks.
Rating: 13 Votes
5 weeks ago

Somehow that argument didn't work in favor of Microsoft..if you didn't like internet explorer, you didn't have to buy a Windows desktop.

Even if you had the option of installing something else.
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Prove it. You didn't have to buy an Apple product.

This kind of nonsense is a waste of time because people have choices. Once you're an Apple customer, they can do whatever they want and if you don't like it, leave. No Monopoly. It's Apple's prerogative if they want to be as vertically integrated as possible.

Easy: you cannot install iOS apps from anywhere else.

The question is whether it is legal.
Rating: 11 Votes
5 weeks ago

It is a vertical monopoly.


Not exactly. The notion of a monopoly is about consumer choice across a market... not within a single provider. Buy an Apple branded device and use the Apple App Store. By an Android device and use one of several app stores. By an Amazon-branded Android device and use the Amazon App Store. Nothing is forcing the consumer to choose one device over another. Part of electing to use an Apple device is *electing* to use the App Store.

This is no different than an auto maker 'forcing' customers to use connectivity and apps for their own brand of infotainment systems.
Rating: 10 Votes

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