Apple has been hit with another class-action lawsuit over alleged anticompetitive practices regarding the App Store. This suit has been filed by iOS developers and is a different case than the one a customer brought against Apple, which the Supreme Court ruled could proceed.
While this is a new class-action lawsuit, it is based on the same claims of Apple using monopolistic practices. The suit has been filed by the law firm Hagens Berman on behalf of a group of iOS developers.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose regards Apple’s allegedly anticompetitive practices in mandating only one app store for iOS devices, which sets the stage for Apple to abuse its market power. For 11 years, Apple has instated a 30 percent commission rate on all app paid sales conducted through the App Store and on any in-app purchases made in iOS apps. Apple also charges high commissions on subscriptions purchased in-app.
In addition to the commissions Apple charges, the suit also takes aim at the $99/year developer account subscription as well as there being just one App Store for all iOS apps.
Apple also forces developers selling products through the App Store to pay an annual Apple Developer fee of $99 to distribute their apps, which is especially damaging to smaller and new developers. Putting all iOS apps into one marketplace also means consumers never see most apps, attorneys say, stifling competition and innovation. According to a legal filing made by Apple last year, there were at that time more than 2 million apps available on the App Store.
Hagens Berman touts its prowess by noting that it previously won a lawsuit against Apple back in 2016 worth $560 million in a case against its ebook practices.
Hagens Berman won a suit against Apple and various publishing companies in 2016 that settled for a total of $560 million on behalf of e-book purchasers forced to pay artificially high prices due to Apple and the publishing companies’ colluded price-fixing. That suit went to the Supreme Court, where the Court ruled against Apple.
The lawsuit accuses Apple of anticompetitive practices under both federal and California law and includes some lofty goals:
Today’s lawsuit seeks to force Apple to end its abusive monopoly and allow competition in the distribution of iOS apps and related products, to get rid of its pricing mandates, and to reimburse developers for overcharges made through abuse of its monopoly power.
You can read the full filed complaint here.
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