Technology

Supreme Court rules against Apple in App Store monopoly case

Share
What to expect from Apple's WWDC event in June 2019 iOS 13 watchOS 6 macOS 10.15

Justices have ruled 5-4 against the tech giant in an antitrust case that will allow iPhone users to move forward with their almost decade-old suit against the company.

In a 5-4 ruling, a Ninth Circuit decision was upheld which stated that iPhone owners were direct purchasers as they purchased apps directly from Apple's app store.

The plaintiffs said the Cupertino, California-based technology company required apps be sold through its App Store and extracted an excessive 30 percent commission on purchases. Apple also claimed that because they don't set the retail price of the apps on the store, iPhone users can not sue them.

Apple sought to block the lawsuit, asserting that it had not set the prices on the apps and thus the iPhone owners had no standing to sue.

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.

Kavanaugh's opinion was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

"If a retailer has engaged in unlawful monopolistic conduct that has caused consumers to pay higher-than-competitive prices, it does not matter how the retailer structured its relationship with an upstream manufacturer or supplier", the opinion said.

Today's Supreme Court ruling doesn't decide the larger question of whether Apple actually is abusing its control over the App Store to overcharge customers. -China tariff dispute, were down more than 5% Monday in morning trading. That's not an easy calculation to do-and it's not a problem that comes up if developers sue Apple instead.

Apple has been in and out of court since 2011 to argue whether it forces them to overpay for apps by effectively killing off competitors on the multibillion-dollar App Store. The dissent was written by President Trump's other appointee to the high court, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Developers earned more than $26 billion in 2017, a 30 percent increase over 2016, according to Apple. Apple previously claimed that it was just an intermediary for purchases, but the Supreme Court ruled otherwise.

One of the biggest advantages of using an iPhone is that you're highly likely to continue receiving software updates for a long time.

The case is Apple Inc. v Pepper, 17-204.

Share