Coalition for App Fairness: Apple is Using Subpoenas to Punish Opponents by Prying Into Confidential Communications

Apple has filed a subpoena against the Coalition for App Fairness, requesting details on their communications as Apple fights a series of antitrust lawsuits. The Coalition for App Fairness comprises several companies who have been critical of Apple's App Store rules and fees, including Epic Games, Spotify, Deezer, Tile, and Match Group.

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Members of the Coalition for App Fairness earlier this month filed a lawsuit (via Apple Insider) attempting to prevent Apple's subpoenas from being approved. The Coalition for App Fairness is afraid that Apple will use those private communications to retaliate against coalition members.

The Coalition for App Fairness says that it is not involved in Apple's antitrust matters, which were filed before the coalition was formed. Apple has also subpoenaed communications from Forbes Tate Partners LLC, a public affairs firm used by the Coalition for App Fairness, and Meghan DiMuzio, the coalition's executive director.

Apple is seeking a "host of documents and communications," such as formation documents, activities, meeting minutes, recruitment efforts, membership lists, financing, communications between coalition members and potential members, and communications between coalition members and any foreign or domestic governmental entity or official relating to Apple.

The Coalition for App Fairness says that if the subpoenas are approved, it could "chill the candor" of member discussions and the "effectiveness of the Coalition's advocacy efforts."

Yet Apple has made intrusive demands for documents and communications with not even the slightest connection to that issue, such as the Coalition's internal governance documents, financial support, public-relations strategy, and vast amounts of confidential communications between and among Coalition staff, members, and others. The true purpose of Apple's discovery requests should be obvious: the company is seeking to punish its political opponents by prying into their confidential communications through burdensome and intrusive discovery.

Communications between coalition members are "irrelevant to the claims and defenses in the antitrust cases and are disproportional to the needs of the cases," according to the filing.

The Coalition for App Fairness has asked the judge to "quash" Apple's subpoenas entirely. Apple is seeking the documentation for the class action antitrust lawsuit that it is dealing with.

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Top Rated Comments

IamTimCook Avatar
38 months ago
I wish these developers would realize their customers have voted on what they want the App Store to be.
iPhones are a fraction of the devices out there yet the App grosses over twice as much as the Google Play store.
Even Android customers don’t want to buy apps from the “open” cesspool know as Android market places.
Stop being greedy and putting your customers at risk. We have spoken, iOS users want a closed secure store.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MauiPa Avatar
38 months ago
Oh no, we formed this bogus group to get what we wanted with little justification and tarted legal proceedings, what? the other party wants to know what is going on< this was supposed to be about them and not our made up stuff.

Seriously, for every "complaint" they came up with, they have a workaround. don't like commission, sell vbucks outside the App Store. Can't advertise on someone else's store, create your own store with links to download the apps. Pathetic really
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
A MacBook lover Avatar
38 months ago
Hmmm, a company called “coalition of app fairness” comprised of companies who hate apple.

Of course documents like financial support, PR moves, are all relevant to this case. This coalition is purely anti-apple.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
38 months ago
Wait, they’re upset about having to participate in the Discovery portion of lawsuits they are actively a party in?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PJWilkin Avatar
38 months ago
Given Epic helped form the Coallition, and they are suing apple
Then the subpoenas may be valid
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
38 months ago
I see, go and file a lawsuit and get apples internal communication but don’t be open about your own communication… sounds rather fishy …
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)