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.

coalition upscale feature
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.

Top Rated Comments

IamTimCook Avatar
19 weeks 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: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MauiPa Avatar
19 weeks 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: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Amacfa Avatar
19 weeks 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: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
19 weeks ago
Wait, they’re upset about having to participate in the Discovery portion of lawsuits they are actively a party in?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
19 weeks 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)
PJWilkin Avatar
19 weeks ago
Given Epic helped form the Coallition, and they are suing apple
Then the subpoenas may be valid
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

twitter communities

Twitter Launches Invite-Only Communities to Compete With Facebook Groups

Wednesday September 8, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Twitter today announced the launch of a new "Communities" feature that's meant to take on Facebook's popular Groups by providing a space where people can share discussions on a specific topic. An invite-only feature at the current time, Communities are created by Twitter users and are self-moderated. Community creators who are invited by Twitter to participate can invite an unlimited number...
app store blue banner

Apple's Plan to Pay $100 Million to Settle Developer Lawsuit Gets Preliminary Approval From Judge

Wednesday November 17, 2021 1:10 pm PST by
Back in August, Apple said that it would pay out $100 million and make several changes to the App Store to settle a class-action lawsuit brought about by developers, and the settlement offer received preliminary approval yesterday from Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers, who is overseeing that case in addition to the Epic v. Apple lawsuit. Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will create a $100 ...
app store blue banner

U.S. Department of Justice Likely to File Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple

Monday October 25, 2021 1:35 pm PDT by
The United States Department of Justice is accelerating its antitrust probe into Apple and there is increased likelihood that Apple will face an antitrust lawsuit, reports The Information. Citing internal sources with knowledge of the investigation, The Information says there has been a "flurry" of activity as the DOJ has continued to question Apple, its customers, and its competitors about...
nso israeli surveillance firm

Apple Aims to Cut Down on Spyware With Lawsuit Against NSO Group

Tuesday November 23, 2021 10:09 am PST by
Apple today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Israeli firm NSO Group and its parent company with the aim of holding it accountable for targeting Apple users with spyware used for surveillance purposes. In the lawsuit, Apple offers up information on how NSO Group infiltrated the devices of iPhone owners and how it utilized the Pegasus spyware to do so. Apple is asking for a...
communication safety 1

iOS 15.2 Beta Adds Messages Communication Safety Feature for Kids

Tuesday November 9, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple over the summer announced new Child Safety features that are aimed at keeping children safer online. Apple has confirmed that one of those features, Communication Safety in Messages, has been enabled in the second beta of iOS 15.2 that was released today, after hints of it appeared in the first beta. Note that Communication Safety is not the same as the controversial anti-CSAM feature that...
General App Store South Korea Feature Feature

Apple Accused of Not Doing Enough to Comply With South Korean App Store Law

Tuesday November 16, 2021 5:09 am PST by
Apple is not doing enough to comply with South Korean legislation that forbids app store operators from forcing developers to use their payment systems, according to lawmaker Jo Seoung-lae, Reuters reports. Via an amendment to the Telecommunication Business Act, South Korea is the first country endeavouring to stop developers from being forced to use a single payment system offered by app...
app store blue banner epic 1

Judge Says Apple Has Until December 9 to Make App Store Change Letting Developers Link to Alternate Payment Methods

Tuesday November 9, 2021 5:37 pm PST by
Following a virtual hearing earlier today, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has denied Apple's request to delay the implementation of a permanent injunction that will require Apple to make significant App Store changes. As part of the judgement in the Apple v. Epic lawsuit, Judge Gonzalez Rogers is requiring Apple to allow developers to add in-app links to outside websites, paving the way for...
Mac App Store General Feature

Apple's Arguments Against Sideloading on iOS: All Your Questions Answered

Thursday November 11, 2021 10:38 am PST by
Sideloading is a fancy word for downloading an app binary from non-official platforms or the open internet and installing it on a device like a normal app. The practice is allowed on Android, granting users the flexibility of downloading apps from official or non-official app stores and the open internet. The iPhone, on the other hand, is a polar opposite. Since the launch of the App Store...
General Apps Messages

Google Executive Wants to Help Apple Make Texts Between Android and iPhone Users More Secure

Friday October 8, 2021 2:03 am PDT by
A Google executive is extending an open hand to help Apple adopt RCS, a new communication protocol called Rich Communication Services to iPhone and iPad, that would replace standard SMS and offer improved cross-platform messaging capabilities. In a tweet, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's senior vice president of Android, said that "group chats don't need to break this way," referring to a...
iphone se black

Apple Agrees to Pay $95 Million to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Refurbished Devices Aren't 'Equivalent to New' [Updated]

Monday October 4, 2021 8:59 pm PDT by
Apple on Friday reached a $95 million settlement that, pending court approval, will resolve a class action lawsuit that accused the company of violating the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act and other U.S. laws by replacing customers' devices covered by AppleCare with refurbished devices, according to court documents accessed by MacRumors. Apple's Repair Terms and Conditions for the U.S. state...