Supreme Court allows Apple App Store antitrust lawsuit to continue (updated)

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to undo a proposed class action accusing Apple of monopolizing the iPhone app market, upholding a Ninth Circuit decision reviving the antitrust suit brought by consumers, reports Law360.

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The lawsuit was originally filed in late 2011 by a group of consumers accusing Apple of monopolizing the market for iOS apps by not allowing any other way of purchasing such apps beyond the company’s own online store.The case could expand the threat of antitrust damages against companies in the rapidly growing field of electronic commerce, which generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually in U.S. retail sales.

Filers of the lawsuit argued that Apple’s 30% commission on sales through the App Store was passed along to consumers, an unfair use of monopoly power. However, the tech giant argued that only app developers, and not users, should be able to bring such a lawsuit.

“Apple’s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander Apple out of this and similar lawsuits,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote.

Apple issued the following statement to CNBC regarding the Supreme Court’s decision: Today’s decision means plaintiffs can proceed with their case in District court. We’re confident we will prevail when the facts are presented and that the App Store is not a monopoly by any metric.

We’re proud to have created the safest, most secure and trusted platform for customers and a great business opportunity for all developers around the world. Developers set the price they want to charge for their app and Apple has no role in that. The vast majority of apps on the App Store are free and Apple gets nothing from them. The only instance where Apple shares in revenue is if the developer chooses to sell digital services through the App Store.

Developers have a number of platforms to choose from to deliver their software – from other apps stores, to Smart TVs to gaming consoles – and we work hard every day to make sure our store is the best, safest, and most competitive in the world.”