Supreme Court will decide whether consumers can sue Apple over App Store "monopoly"

Supreme Court will decide whether consumers can sue Apple over App Store
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow on whether consumers should be allowed to sue Apple in the lower courts over the "monopoly" that the App Store has. Because iOS devices are designed to run only those apps purchased from the App Store, the plaintiffs argue that this artificially raises the price for paid apps in the store. The developer gets 70% of the revenue charged for paid apps while Apple keeps 30%.

The class action suit  that would take place in the lower courts charges that Apple has created a closed market for iOS apps. Apple says that it has done nothing but provide a marketplace for app developers that allows them to sell their products. According to a report from NBC News, the big question that the Supreme Court will have to consider is whether the developers or Apple are responsible for any overcharging. The developers do set the price of their apps, but as we pointed out, Apple does take its commission on every sale.


Consumers argue that if they are successful in court, it could lead to lower pricing for apps across a number of platforms. Developers argue that if consumers win in court, it will lead to the disruption of not only the App Store, but other similar stores across various platforms including the Android based Google Play Store. Big bucks are at stake. While the average price of  an app is only $1, the App Store generated $11 billion in revenue for Apple last year.

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24 Comments

1. Dingy_cellar_dweller

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Who would want to sue apple, iphone users love apple.

8. lyndon420

Posts: 6382; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Since when did apple acquire monopoly status?? They interest less than a quarter of the earth's population.

10. DigitalBoy05

Posts: 274; Member since: Jun 04, 2011

Since when is monopoly determined on population numbers?

15. Leo_MC

Posts: 6138; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Since the term has been used for the first time.

23. DigitalBoy05

Posts: 274; Member since: Jun 04, 2011

If you mean percentage of market share combined with the inability for others to compete in the same industry then sure. But wait there’s other operating systems and other choices to purchase. By your logic Google has the monopoly not Apple since there are more android devices in operation than iOS devices.

24. Leo_MC

Posts: 6138; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

It is almost impossible to have monopolies today, however we can have monopolistic actions.

2. sachouba

Posts: 259; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

Even if there's a ban on Apple's iPhones, the President is going to repeal it, so I don't even see the point of going to the Supreme Court in the first place.

4. AxelFoley

Posts: 536; Member since: May 30, 2017

A ban on iPhones isn't even a part of this case. ITC (executive branch) rulings can be repealed. A President can't repeal a Supreme Court ruling

17. sachouba

Posts: 259; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

Thanks for the info!

6. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Agree 100%

11. Subie

Posts: 2260; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

sachouba, did you even read the article?

3. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Yes. An open market for iOS apps would be great. Yes Apple must certaiy has a monopoly. Having more options for apps would certainly bring prices down. But Apple will fight because they can't lose this incole. The first thing Apple will say in court is, it would be damaging to Apple because users would get less quality on our platform and it will create more problems. Yes Problems you have zero experience handling, because you never had too. But you have enough money to learn. This needs to happen. Every other platform closed ornipen, have multiple options for apps and that is how they all should be. You can always still go to Apple. They shouldn't be the only option Just like you can buy their other products from authorized resellers.

5. emjoigently

Posts: 139; Member since: Aug 22, 2017

As someone who has spend a good deal of his life removing Trojans and virii from relatives Windows computers, I'm kind of okay with the monopoly. Most people should stick to their heavily curated App Store, whatever the platform. If you really want to hack your phone, an iPhone isn't what you need.

7. Miodrag23

Posts: 9; Member since: Nov 09, 2018

Better check what are you doing on your PC then. I never had any major problems with viruses even without antivirus. Monopoly isn't great for any platform and lot of great apps isn't on apple store just because Apple dont won't users to have control on user's phone's. It's not just about prices. They dont care about users and what we want, just about money like every company. App store is so better in terms of app quality then on Play store but there is always room for improvement.

14. worldpeace

Posts: 3077; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Right, even Windows Defender is good enough nowadays.

9. lnhrts

Posts: 28; Member since: Apr 27, 2015

Don't like the fact the only safe "official" place to get apps for your iPhone is from the Apple Store, then don't buy a dang iPhone people. NOBODY is forcing you to buy an iPhone. Buy a dang Android phone for Pete's sake. This is ridiculous!!

13. worldpeace

Posts: 3077; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

But Android phones didn't have Apple's logo.. /s

12. Vokilam

Posts: 993; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I said this when google was sued for doing whatever they wanted to do with Their OWN platform that they build, maintained, and allowed access to by anyone who wants to develop for Android: YOU DONT LIKE IT - DONT USE IT! MAKE YOUR OWN IF YOU WISH! This is apples OWN platform that they build, maintained, and allowed access to by anyone who wants to develop for iOS: YOU DONT LIKE IT - DONT USE IT! MAKE YOUR OWN IF YOU WISH!

18. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1091; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Except it doesn't work like that. If history is anything to go by monopoly positions come with the responsibility to allow competition equal access to your OS. Microsoft has previously been dealt this card when it came to Internet Explorer coming bundled with Windows. The competition argued that because Windows was so widely used, that pre-installing Internet Explorer gave the company an unfair advantage as people wouldn't be much inclined to find a potentially better browser. The fact that Apple, within its iOS ecosystem doesn't allow any form of competition or method of payment that goes outside Apple's App Store, they very much hold a monopoly position within iOS. With it being used in some countries by nearly half the population as the primary mobile OS, there's a definite monopoly argument that Apple should allow competition on its mobile OS. Apple will obviously fight this arguing it will affect the security of users, that they don't have a monopoly position within iOS and all that. There is however no denying that the reason it is as it is, is to maximize profit from its users, something that an alternative app market could seriously threaten.

16. Leo_MC

Posts: 6138; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

If iOS owns way more that half of US market, than the laws of competition dictates that the App Store should not be the only store for iOS apps.

22. Leo_MC

Posts: 6138; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

iPhone is at 3x% in US and iOS should be around the same figure so there is no monopoly.

19. japkoslav

Posts: 1253; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

It is the monopoly, M$ and Google already got sued and fined, Apple is next. Well in Europe ... Right to repair, T2 chip blocking "unwanted" OS etc. you name it, but law implementation takes a lot of time, and we might not even see results of court cases. BTW: PA you got yourself "not-mobile" version URL broken, again.

20. Leo_MC

Posts: 6138; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Microsoft owned 90+% of desktop os market and Android over 80% of mobile os Market (both in EU); is the same with iOS in US?

21. WilliamH

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 24, 2012

Not a super strong opinion either way, but I take issue with the idea of price competitiveness. There is almost always at least 100 apps that can do the same thing. Sure, the best ones are usually paid apps or they have ads, but competition in the App Store does exist? Thoughts?

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