Apple defeats developers seeking $200 billion over App Store 'tyrannical greed'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2021
A judge overseeing a group of developers seeking $200 billion from the Apple App Store suit has ruled, handing a defeat to the developers fighting against what they called Apple's "tyrannical greed."

App Store
App Store


In a 34-page ruling, Judge Edward Chen dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Apple used monopoly power to exclude apps that it didn't like from the App Store, to benefit its own "institutional partners." Chen ruled that the developers failed to identify a market that Apple exerts monopolistic control.

Specifically, the developers tried to define the market as both the "smartphone market" as a whole, and the "iOS institutional app market." Five other markets were cited as being "downstream" as well, according to a report by Courthouse News on Thursday, but the judge ruled that the classifications all "failed to pass muster" and were unclear.

"Plaintiffs fail to define that area of effective competition in which they compete," Chen wrote in his ruling. "They are not smartphone manufacturers. Nor do they provide any other basis for the court to find that the market of U.S. Smartphones is the area of effective competition' for plaintiffs' claims."

Furthermore, the judge declared that the markets that the developers cited were "single-brand markets" where Apple was "inherently and necessarily" the only participant.

The developers' attorney has pledged to fight on, calling the ruling "baffling." An appeal is expected.

Any appeal would likely take years. Success in the future appeals will likely require a great deal of antitrust law modification to make the Sherman anti-trust laws apply in this case, as well as a victory on appeal in the Epic versus Apple case -- neither of which seem likely to happen in the short-term.

The long-running legal dispute between Apple and the developer of "Coronavirus Reporter," came to a head in early July, 2021. The developer withdrew its antitrust case that it filed earlier, and refiled it as a class action one alongside other developers.

"Coronavirus Reporter" and a second company, Calid Inc, joined forces to represent "themselves and all others similarly situated."

The filing attempted to draw comparisons with Apple, and the decades-old successful anti competition case against Microsoft and browser bundling.

"Apple, by breathtaking comparison, has secured its position as the wealthiest company in the world by committing all of those enumerated crimes under the guise of popularity and commitment to quality," the combined filing said. "There can be little doubt that Tim Cook sought to compensate for the tragic loss of Steve Jobs - and his gift for innovation - by seeking reckless profits on the heels of the success that Apple enjoyed with the iPhone."

These two developers wanted to redefine the Sherman Act to make the App Store liable for not making all iPhone users aware of some developers of free apps. In the filing, the developers said that free apps represent "a major component of the ecosystem and a significant source of lost 'person-years' of work."

The "Coronavirus Reporter" developer restated its previous complaints that Apple blocked its COVID app unjustly. Apple said that the developer's complaints about it were "cavalier."

Apple blocked the app citing the developers' insufficient medical background. "Coronavirus Reporter" notes that it counts a head NASA cardiologist among its team, and now believes that Apple chose to promote a different free app in its place.

"About one month after rejecting [our] app, Apple permitted several employees at a London teaching hospital to distribute a COVID app on the App Store that functioned nearly identically to Coronavirus Reporter," continues the filing. "That competing app obtained the so-called first mover advantage, and is currently used by five million individuals daily."

The suit called for at least $90 million in damages for every one of an estimated 500 apps that were allegedly "suppressed or rejected." The total damages asked for "approaches $200 billion when ten years of $99 developer fees are factored in."

The suit also wanted the creation of an "independent, and impartial App Court," to prevent anti-competitive behavior.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,913member
    1. $200 billion= :D
    2. Tim Cook is a maniac who is compensating for the loss of Steve Jobs= :D :D
    3. We want an independent App Court.  :D :D  :D 






    edited December 2021 mike1dewmedarelrexStrangeDaysbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 29
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist, but these guys don't do themselves any favours with the ridiculous hyperbole and whining.

    AppleInsider said:

    "There can be little doubt that Tim Cook sought to compensate for the tragic loss of Steve Jobs - and his gift for innovation - by seeking reckless profits on the heels of the success that Apple enjoyed with the iPhone."

    I mean jfc, lay off the fan fiction. "Tyrannical greed" too, get a grip on yourselves.

    edited December 2021 elijahgsdw2001ronndewmekillroyrandominternetpersonMplsPwatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 3 of 29
    I wonder if the attorney in this case uses Apple products, hmmmm. Thick skins
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 29
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,018member
    crowley said:
    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist…

    Talk about fan fiction. In what sector of Global corporate business is it illegal (requiring ANY form of correction or discipline) to be “mean.” The logic is astounding. 
    igorskybloggerblogwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 29
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    mac_dog said:
    crowley said:
    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist…

    Talk about fan fiction. In what sector of Global corporate business is it illegal (requiring ANY form of correction or discipline) to be “mean.” The logic is astounding. 
    Not what I said at all, but congratulations on throwing a bit of fanboy hyperbole to counterbalance the whining developers.  Not even slightly necessary.
    killroyelijahgbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 6 of 29
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,537member
    So we learned once again that some people just don’t handle rejection very well. The hyperbole and ad hominem attacks on Apple leadership are embarrassing on so many levels. Just more adult sized babies running loose in society. When will it end? 
    killroywilliamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 7 of 29
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 650member
    crowley said:
    mac_dog said:
    crowley said:
    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist…

    Talk about fan fiction. In what sector of Global corporate business is it illegal (requiring ANY form of correction or discipline) to be “mean.” The logic is astounding. 
    Not what I said at all, but congratulations on throwing a bit of fanboy hyperbole to counterbalance the whining developers.  Not even slightly necessary.
    "Somebody made a point I didn't like so they must a fanboy." - Crowley
    edited December 2021 sbdudewilliamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 29
    developers seeking $200 billion over App Store 'tyrannical greed'
    The irony
    darelrexrandominternetpersonroundaboutnowDetnator
  • Reply 9 of 29
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    igorsky said:
    crowley said:
    mac_dog said:
    crowley said:
    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist…

    Talk about fan fiction. In what sector of Global corporate business is it illegal (requiring ANY form of correction or discipline) to be “mean.” The logic is astounding. 
    Not what I said at all, but congratulations on throwing a bit of fanboy hyperbole to counterbalance the whining developers.  Not even slightly necessary.
    "Somebody made a point I didn't like so they must a fanboy." - Crowley
    It's not the point that makes them a fanboy, it's the hyperbolic attack on someone who wasn't even attempting to make debate.  The bleeding heart appeal to logic that launches face first into argument without even trying to understand what it is arguing against.  Where the barest whisper of an opinion that doesn't stand entirely with Apple must be shouted down.  Not to mention the misrepresentation of what I said.  I was saying that the anti-Apple guys are sounding silly, but even then they pounce on me for being not sufficiently pro-Apple because I caged my comment with some balance.  

    Some people are scanning for anything to react to; something to be offended by and take umbrage at.  That's what makes for a clear fanboy, and it is pointless to engage with such people.
    elijahgGabyMplsPbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 10 of 29
    dewme said:
    So we learned once again that some people just don’t handle rejection very well. The hyperbole and ad hominem attacks on Apple leadership are embarrassing on so many levels. Just more adult sized babies running loose in society. When will it end?
    I don’t see it as “adult babies,” it purely as issue of litigation run amok, of greed ($200,000,000,000). 30% is an astounding payoff.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 29
    sbdudesbdude Posts: 173member
    crowley said:
    mac_dog said:
    crowley said:
    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist…

    Talk about fan fiction. In what sector of Global corporate business is it illegal (requiring ANY form of correction or discipline) to be “mean.” The logic is astounding. 
    Not what I said at all, but congratulations on throwing a bit of fanboy hyperbole to counterbalance the whining developers.  Not even slightly necessary.

    Where was the hyperbole? It's not illegal to be mean. There's no hyperbole in that statement. Perhaps its your apologist hypersensitivity?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 29
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    sbdude said:
    crowley said:
    mac_dog said:
    crowley said:
    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist…

    Talk about fan fiction. In what sector of Global corporate business is it illegal (requiring ANY form of correction or discipline) to be “mean.” The logic is astounding. 
    Not what I said at all, but congratulations on throwing a bit of fanboy hyperbole to counterbalance the whining developers.  Not even slightly necessary.
    Where was the hyperbole? It's not illegal to be mean. There's no hyperbole in that statement. Perhaps its your apologist hypersensitivity?
    And what exactly am I apologising for?  Come on.

    They came out of the gate saying that my opinion, which they know next to nothing about, is fan fiction, and that the logic, which they have a corresponding lack of insight into, is astounding.  It was a stupid fanboy comment, driven by this irrational need that some feel to defend one of the richest companies in the world from any tiny perceived slight from any nobody on the internet.  It's white-knightism to a ridiculous extreme, and there's absolutely no need for it.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    Kuyangkoh said:
    I wonder if the attorney in this case uses Apple products, hmmmm. Thick skins
    I wonder if the attorney in this case was also one of the legal minds behind all the "stop the steal" lawsuits that were laughed out of US courts.
    williamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 29
    It’s like a bunch of guys from Hacker News decided to test their anti-apple posturing with an actual court case and tada it was a dud because their claims are as ridiculous as the $200B damages estimation. 

    So of course they are baffled, these people live in echo chamber so small that they believe their own b/s.

    The actual reality is that these people don’t see that corporates such as Epic and Spotify are endlessly banging this anti-competitive drum because it’s just another way to improve their bottom line. 
    edited December 2021 williamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 29
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,913member
    crowley said:
    igorsky said:
    crowley said:
    mac_dog said:
    crowley said:
    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist…

    Talk about fan fiction. In what sector of Global corporate business is it illegal (requiring ANY form of correction or discipline) to be “mean.” The logic is astounding. 
    Not what I said at all, but congratulations on throwing a bit of fanboy hyperbole to counterbalance the whining developers.  Not even slightly necessary.
    "Somebody made a point I didn't like so they must a fanboy." - Crowley
    It's not the point that makes them a fanboy, it's the hyperbolic attack on someone who wasn't even attempting to make debate.  The bleeding heart appeal to logic that launches face first into argument without even trying to understand what it is arguing against.  Where the barest whisper of an opinion that doesn't stand entirely with Apple must be shouted down.  Not to mention the misrepresentation of what I said.  I was saying that the anti-Apple guys are sounding silly, but even then they pounce on me for being not sufficiently pro-Apple because I caged my comment with some balance.  

    Some people are scanning for anything to react to; something to be offended by and take umbrage at.  That's what makes for a clear fanboy, and it is pointless to engage with such people.

    Yeah, I don't see the need to call you a fanboy over what you wrote.  First, I know you're not one.  But just based on what you wrote, there is no reason to react like that  Your comment was balanced.  I was thinking on it earlier, trying to decide whether I agree and to what extent.   

    I'm not decided either way on the issue, I think Apple play a pretty mean hand and could do with a bit of a slap on the wrist, but these guys don't do themselves any favours with the ridiculous hyperbole and whining.

    I don't know about a slap on the wrist.  I'm sort of undecided here as well.  On one hand, Apple does have an inordinate amount of power and control with its App Store.  They favor their own apps and those they choose, reject others, etc.  I'm not sure that's entirely right, but as I see it now, it's not illegal under at least U.S. anti-trust laws.  On the other hand, Apple doesn't control the smartphone app market.  They only control the iPhone app market.  

    In the end, I think I'm mostly with Apple on this.  Apple developed the App Store for its ecosystem and it became an unbelievable success.  Tens of thousands of developers profited by accessing Apple's ever-growing customer base.  The way I see it, some of those developers are now turning around and screaming "MONOPOLY!" and demanding access to Apple's customer base on their own terms.  They want courts to believe that somehow Apple isn't solely responsible for creating the system by which they profit.  They now argue that they have a legal right to that customer base, as if it suddenly became something else....a "market" which must be "free."  

    I do think requiring Apple to allow third party, out-of-app payments is the right thing to do.  Apple shouldn't be able to interfere in any other business transactions between the customer and a developer.  As recently confirmed, Apple will argue they should still get their cut of any App-related transaction.  I expect them to win on that point.  
      

    mjtomlinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 29
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,844member
    The most important concept that the judge raised in his ruling is "single-brand markets".

    Anyone who ever contemplates filing an antitrust suit against Apple should learn this term first.

    It is a legal absurdity to accuse a company of acting as an illegal monopoly in the market for its own-brand products.  Every company is unavoidably a monopolist in its own-brand products.

    Microsoft:Personal Computing OSes and Apple:iPhone Branded Smartphones is not a valid analogy

    The lawyer who filed this suit should be disbarred for incompetence bordering on stupidity.
    edited December 2021 dewmebaconstangwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 17 of 29
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,537member
    AniMill said:
    dewme said:
    So we learned once again that some people just don’t handle rejection very well. The hyperbole and ad hominem attacks on Apple leadership are embarrassing on so many levels. Just more adult sized babies running loose in society. When will it end?
    I don’t see it as “adult babies,” it purely as issue of litigation run amok, of greed ($200,000,000,000). 30% is an astounding payoff.
    Claiming $200 billion in damages seems like something a 9-year old would do, but only after you explained to the child that “bazillion” is not a real value. 
    williamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 18 of 29
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,094member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    I wonder if the attorney in this case uses Apple products, hmmmm. Thick skins
    What does that have to do with anything? I own an iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but think Apple sucks in more ways than one. 
    MplsP
  • Reply 19 of 29
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,006member
    I remember the days of having to buy boxed software at stores like Fry's and CompUSA, or hope to go to some obscure website in the early days to purchase and by software and hope by credit card info did not get stolen.  What were the overhead figures for a developer back then?

    Nowadays, as a developer myself, I am embarrassed and ashamed for these so-called "developers" complaining about Apple.  Apple created a hugely successful App Store, giving the developer access to countless of customers, not dealing with any of the overhead headaches that old-school developers and companies had to deal with, and all they ask is a CHEAP 15-30% cut.  That is CHUMP CHANGE considering what they do.

    Developers nowadays that grew up with the "everything is free on the internet" mentality expect Apple to do all the work in obtaining/keeping loyal Apple customers and maintaining a huge app-store infrastructure and provide all that for free.

    Shame on you "developers".  As a developer myself... F**K you.
    williamlondonauxiodewmebloggerblogbaconstangnarwhalericthehalfbeewatto_cobraDetnatorjony0
  • Reply 20 of 29
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,518member
    sdw2001 said:

    I do think requiring Apple to allow third party, out-of-app payments is the right thing to do.  Apple shouldn't be able to interfere in any other business transactions between the customer and a developer.  As recently confirmed, Apple will argue they should still get their cut of any App-related transaction.
    The problem is that app developers will most certainly take advantage of this by making the app free to get on the app store, then use an out-of-app payment system to get any sort of functionality from it (basically move the entire app payment out of the App Store).
    baconstangwatto_cobra
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