Apple Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Dismiss App Store Monopoly Lawsuit

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Apple has reportedly asked the U.S. Supreme Court to toss out a years-old antitrust lawsuit which accuses the company of “monopolistic practices” — specifically, with respect to how it’s captured such a substantial share of the app market, with what plaintiffs say is the ultimate goal of charging developers excessive commission on their sales. 

Filed back in 2011 with a California federal court by Mr. Robert Pepper (and several other iPhone owners who later joined on as co-plaintiffs), the suit accuses Apple of leveraging its power and dominance in the tech industry to create a monopoly over the mobile app market.

In other words, Apple has created a monopoly over the app market since iOS apps are only available to purchase and download from the company’s App Store.

The case was last considered as recently as October of 2017 by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, at which point Apple reportedly sought to have the suit dismissed citing the plaintiff’s legal standing as consumers, and not developers who are actually paying the sales commission.

“The plaintiffs countered that they, not the developers, pay Apple for apps at prices that include the commission, which they called a ‘monopolistic surcharge’,” Reuters reported of the developments back in October. 

Ultimately, in January of this year, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that “because consumers directly bought products from Apple they were entitled to sue.”

Apple Fights Back

Last month, however, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) reportedly intervened, filing an Amicus Brief on Apple’s behalf which essentially stated that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals “misapplied” previous legal precedents, 9to5mac reports. 

Now, the case is expected to be overheard by the SCOTUS judges, who will hopefully render a lasting verdict. 

Greg Stohr, who reports on U.S. Supreme Court developments for Bloomberg News, Tweeted before dawn on Monday morning that the Supreme Court judges would be considering Apple’s call to have their case dismissed.

Launched back in 2010, Apple’s App Store is now home to millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch apps designed to either help, entertain, inspire and even educate their users.

Previously, developers selling their paid app titles on the App Store would be assessed a 30 percent commission by Apple. When several industry observers decried the Cupertino tech-giant’s hefty commission schedule, the company responded back in 2016, by adopting a new 15 percent commission model for developers whose titles remain active for sale into their second year.

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking during this month’s WWDC 2018 keynote, his company is on the cusp of having paid out over $100 billion in App Sore commissions to its dedicated developers from all around the world.

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