Home   >   News

Apple heads to Supreme Court over App Store 'monopoly'

Is Apple's dominance over its closed-off iOS ecosystem inflating prices?
Apple heads to Supreme Court over App Store 'monopoly'

Apple heads to the US Supreme Court today as it appeals a lower court ruling that gave the greenlight to a class-action lawsuit against the company over its App Store ‘monopoly’.

The lawsuit accuses the tech giant of ‘violating federal antitrust laws’ due to its closed off App Store market.

Any app sold on iOS must go through Apple’s own store, and the company gets a 30 per cent cut of any sales made upfront or within the app. This revenue split differs for subscriptions, however.

The lawsuit claims that such dominance of the marketplace amounts to a monopoly and forces users to overpay - as there is nothing else to compete with it in the iOS ecosystem.

The suit was revived by San Francisco’s 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals last year on the grounds that Apple sold iPhone apps directly to consumers. Apple disputes this.

The small print

Reuters reports that the case will centre around a 1977 ruling in which only those who have been directly overcharged can sue for damages, not indirect victims, as would be the case here.

Under this ruling, it would be up to developers to bring a lawsuit to court.

For its part, Apple is adamant that it lets developers set the prices. This technically means developers are free to absorb or pass on any costs to the consumer.

It’s reported that Apple is being backed by US Republican President Donald Trump’s Administration and the Chamber of Commerce.