French iOS developers launch class action lawsuit over App Store fees

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in iOS
The same law firm that successfully represented US iOS developers over Apple's App Store fees, is now representing a class-action suit for the same issue in France.




Following its successful forcing of Apple to change US App Store conditions, American legal firm Hagens Berman hopes to do the same for developers in France. That US case saw Apple settling for $100 million, and also allow developers to have more contact with their users.

"We're fresh off the heels of our hard-won settlement with Apple and ready to get back in the ring," Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a statement seen by AppleInsider. "Our firm is happy to see iOS developers from other countries seeking the same justice we were able to achieve for U.S. developers."

"We believe they too have been wrongfully subjected to the stifling policies of Apple's App Store," he continued, "and we intend to hold Apple to the law."

Hagens Berman, in association with Paris-based lawyer Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi representing the Le GESTE group, has now filed a new antitrust lawsuit in Calfironia.

"Apple's policies and restrictions pose critical issues to all iOS developers using the App Store," said Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi. "To a global problem, there shall be a global solution."

"I believe we can build solid bridges to conceive impactful actions," continued Masmi-Dazi, "for we shall leave no room for impunity."

Hagens Berman has a long history of bringing successful suits against Apple. Most notably, it was the legal team that won the iBooks lawsuit in 2016.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,060member
    They say "To a global problem, there shall be a global solution," but they are only suing in a US court, and if they win, the ruling would only apply inside the US, so how is that a "global" solution? If the claimants are from France, why not sue in a French court? That would apply to France.
    iOSDevSWEKTRuraharaviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,363member
    You might want to read the story again.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    I would like to see what these ambulance chasing lawyers would say when they were presented with "fees" (whatever that general name implies) from other companies, both in the electronic field as well as restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, auto repair, in other words every other type of business. We've all ready about fees in excess of 30% in businesses similar to Apple's App Store. It's just sad that people refuse to understand the real cost of doing business and feel they should get things for free, including the distribution of software.
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Some relevant info from the settlement...

    "Apple is confident that if this litigation were to continue, Apple would defeat class certification and/or Apple would prevail at trial. The Court is aware from the Epic trial, including the testimony of Apple’s most senior executives, of Apple’s commitment to building and maintaining the App Store as a great place for both developers and consumers to transact in apps and in-app purchases. The evidence of record establishes that the practices challenged in this and other cases are both lawful and well-justified by business necessity—including the protection of Apple’s intellectual property, and protecting the security and privacy of Apple’s customers.

    Nevertheless, Apple would rather work with developers than litigate against them. Accordingly, after extensive arms-length negotiations, Apple and the Developer Plaintiffs reached a solution that, if approved by the Court, will avoid the expense and distraction of further litigation while providing real assistance to the small developers who are so important to the burgeoning app economy. Apple also agrees to class certification for settlement purposes only, without in any way conceding that a litigation class could ever be certified here or in any related case.1"

    https://regmedia.co.uk/2021/08/27/apple_cameron_settlement_document.pdf

    So it's not really a matter of Hagens German "forcing" Apple to do something. Apple cites the Epic trial and decision as proving that the practices in question per the developers are not  illegal. 

    edited August 1 roundaboutnowh2pbeowulfschmidtjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 434member
    If you do not like the files of the App Stars it pertains to you as a developer then quit developing for the platform
    viclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,391member
    rob53 said:
    I would like to see what these ambulance chasing lawyers would say when they were presented with "fees" (whatever that general name implies) from other companies, both in the electronic field as well as restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, auto repair, in other words every other type of business. We've all ready about fees in excess of 30% in businesses similar to Apple's App Store. It's just sad that people refuse to understand the real cost of doing business and feel they should get things for free, including the distribution of software.
    His fee his likely 33% after expenses. These guys are a joke. 
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,391member
    I believe Apple needs to stop messing around with these vultures and play hard ball. Give them some real uncomfortable options. Make it clear that based on their experience of nearly going bankrupt 20 years ago, they have a minimum profit margin they will accept on products to maintain them at a level appropriate and in accordance with our quality mandate. 

    We will discontinue any product or service that negatively breaches it’s set profit margin requirements. If we are forced to lower our App Store commission to levels we deem inappropriate we will be forced to makeup the margin another way. One way would be to significantly increase the price for developer accounts. $500 to $1000 per user seat per might be a part of the solution. Another source could be charging per API call. Providing a certain number of credits in a prepaid bundle. 

    Unfortunately, both of these solutions create unnecessary complexity and create a barrier to entry that was not previously there. Charging separately for billing and support services in another piece of the puzzle that can be broken out, as well as any marketing services for separate charges. 

    Of course this will benefit the big developers to a degree if they already have an accounting department to handle all of this extracurricular activity. 
    baconstangh2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,990member
    Reminds me of a prior AI article about lawyers getting a 70% cut of a settlement case involving developers suing Apple over fees.  Surprisingly, the attorneys didn't respond to questions involving the hypocrisy of their fees.
    baconstangjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,646member

    "French iOS developers launch class action lawsuit over App Store fees"


    That is a misleading headline. It should read ....

    US Lawyers launch class action lawsuit over App Store fees on behalf of French iOS developers 


    i would imagine that if enough iOS developers in France had complaints over Apple App Store fees, they would be able bring it up to the EU Commission, without having to use US lawyers that will take 1/3 of the settlement. They would get a much better payout (if they are successful), than the nickels and dimes they are going go get if the US lawyers wins this lawsuit for them. (While the US law firm reaps in ten's of millions, if French courts permit lawyers to keep 1/3 of the settlement like here in the US)

    90% of apps in the Apple App Store are free. Over 95% of Apple revenue from their App Store commission are paid by the biggest  3% of developers, who are making millions, if not billions of dollars, from selling their apps on iOS.  How were these developers harmed by Apple's commission? That's like saying that the top 1% are harmed by the higher tax rates on their income. But the biggest 3% of developers will receive over 95% of the settlement (minus lawyers 1/3 cut), if the amount of the payout to each developer participating in the suit, is based on the actual damage that each suffered and not per developer. What developers were not allowed to pass on the Apple Store "fee", to their customers? If they did, what damages did they incur by the "fee"?  How much damages did all the developers who are only paying a 15% commission or paying no commission by offering a free app, suffer?

    If the US lawyers win this suit, I could see a developer like Epic Games receiving more settlement payout money, than all of the small iOS developers (in France) .... combined.   
    edited August 1 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    looplessloopless Posts: 262member
    There is not a developer in the world that truly thinks Apple does not deserve their 30%. The App Store infrastructure is incredibly impressive. Money just magically turns up in your bank account, with Apple taking care of EVERYTHING.  These are ambulance chasing lawyers riding the wave of "anti-tech" "anti-apple" sentiment.
    iOSDevSWEwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    KTRKTR Posts: 244member
    Oh here we go again.  These developers don’t know how cheap it is to sell on apple App Store.  Would they rather sell their apps in a retail store 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    KTRKTR Posts: 244member
    If Push comes to  shove.  Apple could start selling future iOS operating systems versions and upgrades.  Then developers will have to pay more or agree to pay the 30%. And not pay for full iOS/upgrades
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,615member
    I’ve said it before, and will say it again: developers with less than one million USD proceeds on the App Store pay 15%, when they sign up for the small business program (https://developer.apple.com/app-store/small-business-program/)

    I don’t know what the proceeds distribution looks like in the App Store. But since it is being repeated over and over again how unfair the commission is for the small developers: voila. The 30% that are always cited as though being a uniform commission is flat out wrong. 
    iOSDevSWEwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    croprcropr Posts: 1,078member
    loopless said:
    There is not a developer in the world that truly thinks Apple does not deserve their 30%. The App Store infrastructure is incredibly impressive. Money just magically turns up in your bank account, with Apple taking care of EVERYTHING.  These are ambulance chasing lawyers riding the wave of "anti-tech" "anti-apple" sentiment.
    The fact that there developers launching a class action lawsuit proves that your claim is wrong. 

    I am an app developer and if I talk with colleagues we basically have the same understanding about the app store ecosystem:
    • Apple has created a very nice development environment for iOS apps: nice IDE (XCode),  great APIs, decent documentation. Only for the app management, there is room for improvement
    • The technical restrictions imposed by the App Store rules are great.  It guarantees a unified ans secure way of working for all iOS apps.    The business restriction are a PITA.  There is absolute no reason that if an end user buys multiple apps from me, I cannot give that user an extra discount.
    • The value of the App Store Infrastructure is overestimated.    The app developer needs anyhow a secured hosting solution for the back end of its app, for web based access and for marketing purposes.  Google, Amazon, Microsoft , Digital Ocean, .... have cost efficient off the shelve solutions for secure hosting.   But the Apple marketing machine makes you believe it costs much more.
    • Apple does not take care of marketing of your app.  In fact I did a survey among my app users and none of them found my apps using the App Store search function.    Google SEO  and direct marketing campaigns by my company are the key factors to attract new customers
    • Apple does take care of the secure payment of your app.   If you are developing an iOS only app, this is OK.  But if you have Android, PC, Mac and Linux versions as well, this is not so great. The management, accounting and end user support are much easier with a single payment system for all versions of your app.
    • Apple gets too much revenue from paid apps and not enough from free apps. 

    The majority of my colleagues find it would better for Apple to increase the  development license, but to lower the cut to a reasonable level (< 10%). 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 18
    I’ve said it before, and will say it again: developers with less than one million USD proceeds on the App Store pay 15%, when they sign up for the small business program (https://developer.apple.com/app-store/small-business-program/)

    I don’t know what the proceeds distribution looks like in the App Store. But since it is being repeated over and over again how unfair the commission is for the small developers: voila. The 30% that are always cited as though being a uniform commission is flat out wrong. 
    The out-of-court settlement that Apple and the plaintiffs agreed upon will only apply to developers making less than $1 million, so it's definitely the 15% group.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Tired of this BS? Boycott the developers!!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,174member
    KTR said:
    If Push comes to  shove.  Apple could start selling future iOS operating systems versions and upgrades.  Then developers will have to pay more or agree to pay the 30%. And not pay for full iOS/upgrades
    Apple never should have made the OS, Pages, Keynote, or Numbers free, nor make the developer package as cheap as it is, higher prices and curation in the future? Entitlement will never stop until a real price is attached.

    Making something free is a signal to the public that you have no cost and therefore no value, that anyone has to be concern with.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,615member
    I’ve said it before, and will say it again: developers with less than one million USD proceeds on the App Store pay 15%, when they sign up for the small business program (https://developer.apple.com/app-store/small-business-program/)

    I don’t know what the proceeds distribution looks like in the App Store. But since it is being repeated over and over again how unfair the commission is for the small developers: voila. The 30% that are always cited as though being a uniform commission is flat out wrong. 
    The out-of-court settlement that Apple and the plaintiffs agreed upon will only apply to developers making less than $1 million, so it's definitely the 15% group.
    I mentioned this, because usually there is no mention of the 15% rule in press coverage. This implies to the average reader that all devs have to pay 30%.

    If the settlement is largely directed towards that group then in other words, they want to take Apple to court because 15% is deemed excessive by that group? 
    watto_cobra
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