Apple gets US Supreme Court review on iPhone app fee suit

Doris Richards
June 22, 2018

There is evidence of that on Android - users can get apps from the Google Play Store, but they can also get them from Amazon and other third-party stores, too, if they so choose.

The antitrust claims against Apple date back to a 2011 lawsuit by several iPhone buyers in California federal court, including lead plaintiff Robert Pepper of Chicago, according to court papers.

Even if the Supreme Court rules that the case can go to trial, there is still a long road before it is settled. It has demanded the Supreme Court to cease the lawsuit.

A spokesman for Apple did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Starting in October, discussions and rebuttals between the two parties will commence, lasting approximately nine months.

As far as Apple is concerned, consumers are purchasing directly from the devs and its App Store is only a platform that charges a commission to the developers, much like a mall charges rent for retail space. Because of that, Apple says, it's not selling apps to customers - the developers are through the App Store.

The plaintiffs argued that, although developers set the prices of their apps, by charging them a 30 per cent commission on each purchase and allowing iOS apps only to be sold through its App Store, Apple has inflated the price of apps for consumers.

Apple has argued that its policies target developers, not consumers. The issue is clouded because of another case that established the precedent that you can't sue for anti-trust damages if the company is not the direct seller. The counter argument is that Apple is monopolising the distribution of apps and this is stopping other apps stores from establishing themselves and competing for business by taking a smaller commission. The court said that rule was necessary to avoid "duplicative recoveries". Then, In 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit saw it differently.

A month later, the justices asked the US government - which isn't a party to the court battle - to share its views.

The first question is if Apple's monopoly is a conspiracy to raise prices.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article