Fresh App Store monopoly lawsuit arrives after US Supreme Court ruling

Posted:
in iPhone
Taking advantage of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, a new class action lawsuit accuses Apple of artificially inflating App Store prices through a claimed monopoly on iOS app distribution.

iOS 12 App Store


The case was launched this week via the U.S. District Court for the Northern of District of California. Lawyers for the plaintiff, Edward Lawrence, say Apple is violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act, as well as Sections 4 and 24 of the Clayton Act, engaging in "a litany of anticompetitive conduct and practices designed specifically to unlawfully monopolize, fix, raise, maintain or stabilize prices."

iOS was "intentionally designed to lock iPhone owners into buying applications only from Apple," the complaint notes, and since Apple typically charges developers 30% for each App Store transaction, anyone downloading an app is effectively paying that extra amount. The 30% take is "mostly profit," and would be "substantially less in an otherwise competitive market," the suit alleges.

Lawyers further suggest that Apple's tight control over iOS denies users "the ability to choose from potentially cheaper, more efficient and technologically superior new products."

In compensation, the suit asks for damages with interest, attorney fees and an injunction against further monopolistic practices. If it makes class status, and subsequently wins in court, the suit is unlikely to pay out big dividends to individual App Store users, given the number of people on the platform.

The Supreme Court recently gave the go-ahead for a similar lawsuit, Apple v. Pepper, to head back to a lower court.

In that case, Apple has repeatedly argued that developers are ultimately responsible for setting prices, and that it's not breaking any antitrust laws. It also suggests that developers are "buying a package of services which include distribution and software and intellectual property and testing."

In its defense Apple has relied on the Illinois Brick doctrine, relating to direct versus indirect purchasers. That didn't fly with Justices like Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    rcfarcfa Posts: 763member
    About time!
    Can’t mix walled garden with selective access, or else it turns into regulating speech and commerce in a time where things increasingly happen on the smartphone.
    No single company can be allowed to be gatekeeper to an entire market.
    Roger_Fingas
  • Reply 2 of 57
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 335member
    "It also suggests that developers are "buying a package of services which include distribution and software and intellectual property and testing.""

    That, plus confidence in the safety and security of the product makes it worth the 30%

    "
    Lawyers further suggest that Apple's tight control over iOS denies users "the ability to choose from potentially cheaper, more efficient and technologically superior new products.""

    Howwwwww!? Apple's controls aren't stopping you from changing platforms. Taking the app store away from Apple wouldn't have any effect on efficiency or technology in apps unless the argument is that third party app stores would allow developers to use APIs that aren't otherwise open and usually for good reason.
    bloggerblogracerhomie3georgie01wonkothesane
  • Reply 3 of 57
    dave marshdave marsh Posts: 303member
    Such a ridiculous lawsuit.  Of course Apple has a monopoly over its own platform.  No one is forced to buy an iPhone.  If you buy into the platform, you also buy into Apple’s rules. Don’t like it, sell your iPhone and move on to another platform.  There are many out there.  In the scheme of things, Apple’s share of the smartphone market is less than Android’s, and is therefore not a monopoly in the broader smartphone market.

    Concerning the price of apps on the platform, I clearly remember computer apps costing hundreds of dollars before the iOS platform came out, with Apple pushing for most apps to be less than $10, setting a new lower cost option.  However, even so, the price for apps is set by the developer.  Apple’s 30% cut is to support the infrastructure it has to maintain in place to vet and sell the product to its customers.  And, even if that cost was zero and turned out to be 100% profit for Apple, that should be fine.  Remember, smartphone and tablet customers have other options.  Apple is NOT A MONOPOLY in any legal sense.
    racerhomie3StrangeDaysn2itivguysdw2001radarthekatAppleExposeddedgecko
  • Reply 4 of 57
    It seems the people filing this want the race for the bottom to result in everything being “free” (well, to them) and developers bear the costs.

    adding more app stores doesn’t necessarily help bring developer costs down, or profits up: it has a time cost to deal with any store, and having more to deal with will be more expensive for developers who already have cheapskates thinking things are too expensive to pay for.

    in the long run, once there’s not enough money for developers, the platform self-destructs and everyone loses.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 5 of 57
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 163member
    I’d like to be able to install apps or third-party app stores without having to jump through so many hoops (just to have said app/stores certificates revoked a day later).

    I hope they lose this lawsuit.
    dedgecko
  • Reply 6 of 57
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,839member
    Is Apple the world’s most sued company?
    I think there is a a reputation out there that one might make lots of money suing Apple, Microsoft and Google don’t seem to have such a reputation. 
  • Reply 7 of 57
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    rcfa said:
    About time!
    Can’t mix walled garden with selective access, or else it turns into regulating speech and commerce in a time where things increasingly happen on the smartphone.
    No single company can be allowed to be gatekeeper to an entire market.
    They're not...its called Android. There are alternatives. Now if Apple was the gatekeeper of ALL mobile phone stores and controlled every aspect of it, then maybe your rant holds merit. 
    StrangeDaysgeorgie01n2itivguyericthehalfbeewonkothesaneAppleExposeddedgecko
  • Reply 8 of 57
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 935member
    rcfa said:
    About time!
    Can’t mix walled garden with selective access, or else it turns into regulating speech and commerce in a time where things increasingly happen on the smartphone.
    No single company can be allowed to be gatekeeper to an entire market.
    So should Walmart be forced to allow competing stores on their shelves. How about forcing amazon to allow links to Ebay on their platform. Apple does not have to provide the ability to have native apps at all. In fact the App Store came later. The original iPhone only supported WebApps. Apple is a device maker who provides generous access to their hardware via their os. Samsung, Sony and every TV manufacturer controls what apps you can download to their platform, car manufacturers control what apps you can download to their systems etc. people who want unsafe options have plenty of Android devices on the “market to choose from. 

    doctwelveStrangeDaysgeorgie01radarthekatGabyAppleExposed
  • Reply 9 of 57
    bizzarebizzare Posts: 62member
    If SCOTUS does break up the App Store the way it exists today, the new App Store will become fee based. 
    A more costly system. 

    radarthekat
  • Reply 10 of 57
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    rcfa said:
    About time!
    Can’t mix walled garden with selective access, or else it turns into regulating speech and commerce in a time where things increasingly happen on the smartphone.
    No single company can be allowed to be gatekeeper to an entire market.
    The iPhone isn’t the entire market. Just like BMW isn’t an entire market.  Remember Android is “winning”. 
    radarthekatstompyAppleExposed
  • Reply 11 of 57
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member

    Johan42 said:
    I’d like to be able to install apps or third-party app stores without having to jump through so many hoops (just to have said app/stores certificates revoked a day later).

    I hope they lose this lawsuit.
    Johan42 said:
    I’d like to be able to install apps or third-party app stores without having to jump through so many hoops (just to have said app/stores certificates revoked a day later).

    I hope they lose this lawsuit.
    Go to Android then. No hoops there. 
    doctwelveStrangeDaysgeorgie01genovellewonkothesanestompyAppleExposed
  • Reply 12 of 57
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    The 30% take is "mostly profit," and would be "substantially less in an otherwise competitive market," the suit alleges.”

    Profit isn’t against the law. If Apple to forced to take a lessor cut, so long free apps. 
    radarthekatAppleExposed
  • Reply 13 of 57
    Fucking Supreme Court. The fact that laws can change that so dramatically affect the lives of millions of people both directly and indirectly based on the opinions of one or two people show what a complete joke this whole system is. I swear we're living in a version of the Matrix that downloaded malware.... because it wasn't run by Apple and protected from viruses. 
    n2itivguyradarthekatdedgecko
  • Reply 14 of 57
    rcfa said:
    About time!
    Can’t mix walled garden with selective access, or else it turns into regulating speech and commerce in a time where things increasingly happen on the smartphone.
    No single company can be allowed to be gatekeeper to an entire market.
    Here are just some stores that are gatekeepers of the products that are sold at there.

    Bargain Hunt
    Ben Franklin
    Bi-Mart
    Big Lots
    BJ's Wholesale Club
    Burlington Coat Factory
    Costco
    Dd's Discounts
    Dollar General
    Dollar Tree
    Family Dollar
    Five Below
    Fred's
    Fred Meyer
    Gabe's
    Gordmans
    Harbor Freight Tools
    HomeGoods
    HomeSense
    Kmart
    Marshalls
    Meijer
    National Stores
    Ocean State Job Lot
    Ollie's Bargain Outlet
    Renys
    Roses
    Ross Stores
    Shopko
    Stein Mart
    Target
    T.J. Maxx
    Tuesday Morning
    Walmart
    Sam's Club

    n2itivguyGaby
  • Reply 15 of 57
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,550member
    rcfa said:
    About time!
    Can’t mix walled garden with selective access, or else it turns into regulating speech and commerce in a time where things increasingly happen on the smartphone.
    No single company can be allowed to be gatekeeper to an entire market.
    Apple isn’t the gatekeeper to the entire smartphone market. There are numerous competitors and different platforms. 

    Saying they have a monopoly on their own product is like saying McDonald’s has a monopoly on its own stores, and that they should be compelled to let other companies distribute alternative food items inside McDonald’s to McDonald’s customers. 
    edited May 23 georgie01n2itivguytenthousandthingscharlesgres
  • Reply 16 of 57
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 326member
    bizzare said:
    If SCOTUS does break up the App Store the way it exists today, the new App Store will become fee based. 
    A more costly system. 

    Cavanue is not that smart after all...
  • Reply 17 of 57
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,139member
    I hope the US or any court system doesn't mess around with the Apple App Store. It works fine as it is now, don't screw it up!
  • Reply 18 of 57
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,612member
    rcfa said:
    About time!
    Can’t mix walled garden with selective access, or else it turns into regulating speech and commerce in a time where things increasingly happen on the smartphone.
    No single company can be allowed to be gatekeeper to an entire market.

    Have you always been this ignorant, or was it acquired?
    lkruppericthehalfbeeAppleExposeddedgeckoArloTimetraveler
  • Reply 19 of 57
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,139member
    jungmark said:
    rcfa said:
    About time!
    Can’t mix walled garden with selective access, or else it turns into regulating speech and commerce in a time where things increasingly happen on the smartphone.
    No single company can be allowed to be gatekeeper to an entire market.
    The iPhone isn’t the entire market. Just like BMW isn’t an entire market.  Remember Android is “winning”. 
    Last I heard was that Android was winning in marketshare, and they allow almost everything in their store no matter what, so Apple's App Store doesn't have a monopoly and Apple is not the gatekeeper to the entire smartphone market.
    JFC_PAAppleExposed
  • Reply 20 of 57
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,139member
    I hope the US or any court system doesn't mess around with the Apple App Store. It works fine as it is now, don't screw it up!
    AppleExposed
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