Sci-tech

Supreme Court rules against Apple in App Store monopoly case

Supreme Court rules against Apple in App Store monopoly case”

Taken together, the plaintiffs say this constitutes an unlawful monopoly: consumers are forced to purchase apps in a digital storefront Apple controls, and end up paying higher prices because developers price in the 30 percent commission Apple collects, effectively passing the burden on to consumers. Apple has claimed that consumers are actually purchasing the apps from the developer directly and that Apple's relationship was with the developers, who then paid them the commission.

Apple's response was a legal classic: It claimed that the iPhone users could not sue it because they weren't purchasing Apple products directly from Apple. And because Apple doesn't allow app makers to distribute iPhone apps any other way, this behavior is doubly injurious as iPhone users have no other choices.

Apple argues that consumers shouldn't be able to sue, citing an earlier ruling, which argues that "indirect purchasers" can't sue a company for antitrust damages.

The Supreme Court justices ruled 5-4 that a class-action lawsuit filed by consumers can proceed, the Washington Post reported.

"In the retail context, the price charged by a retailer to a consumer is often a result (at least in part) of the price charged by the manufacturer or supplier to the retailer, or of negotiations between the manufacturer or supplier and the retailer", Kavanaugh wrote.

The court has not declared Apple monopolists yet, but this ruling does allow the case to proceed.

"The problem is that the 30 percent commission falls initially on the developers", Gorsuch wrote. Pro-Apple Justices included Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, both of whom hinted that Illinois Brick should be re-examined.

A spokeswoman for Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last year, iOS 12 gave a stay of execution to older devices by supporting exactly the same iGadgets as iOS 11. The iPhone giant said it only acted as the intermediary, providing a storefront where consumers found and purchased the apps they later installed on their phones. They claim prices are consequently high stemming from the charges Apple imposes on app developers.



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