Apple is liable to monopolisation lawsuits from consumers after the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling.
Four App Store users filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, claiming that the firm unlawfully monopolised the mobile market for iPhone apps.
The lawsuit, known as ‘Apple versus Pepper’, describes how Apple has complete control over the app store ecosystem. The company takes a 30 per cent cut from every sale, on top of the annual fees it takes that are needed to publish apps on the App Store.
With no direct competition within the iOS ecosystem, it’s alleged Apple can charge higher-than-competitive prices The cost to developers of the revenue share it takes, plus the fees it charges, are thus then passed onto the consumer by those companies, it’s claimed.
Apple refuted the claims by stating that iPhone owners purchase straight from developers on its store instead of from Apple directly.
The Illinois Brick case from 1977 was also cited as a defence by Apple, due to the outcome ruling that a brick maker could not pay an unrelated party to build something using those same bricks.
“Apple argues that Illinois Brick allows consumers to sue only the party who sets the retail price, whether or not the party sells the good or service directly to the complaining party,” states the users claim.
Apple’s failed to convince the judges on the case however, as the Illinois Brick filing was seen as a consumer on the bottom of a chain being affected by a company on top of it, whereas here Apple was directly influencing consumers with its price changes.
Backed the decision
The US Supreme Court has now backed the decision made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had overturned a previous ruling in Apple’s favour, meaning App Store users can file claim against Apple over the issue.
A final decision regarding the ‘Apple vs. Pepper’ lawsuit will now continue in the lower courts.
This is not the only issue Apple has been under fire for lately. Recently some developers began losing out on potentially thousands of dollars in daily revenue after the firm started enforcing its rules on certain offerwall advertisements that offer incentivised rewards.