Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court may allow an antitrust suit against Apple to continue. The company is accused of breaching antitrust laws by imposing a monopoly on the market for iPhone applications and forcing consumers to overpay.
The Cupertino company defended itself over a period of one hour during an appeal that sought to reverse the decision of a lower instance which agreed that a suit filed in 2011 against the company should continue.
A group of iPhone owners sued Apple for monetary damages and claimed that forcing app creators to distribute the apps through the App Store in order to take 30% commission from every app sold qualifies as a breach of the antitrust law.
The final verdict may rely on previous decisions that were taken in the past. The iconic 1977 ruling against anti-competitive practices applies for users that were directly overcharged by the company. In the case if Apple the app creator may opt to choose the price for the app as long as Apple will receive its share.
Apple has been aggressively promoted by Donald Trump and members of his administration, including renowned Apple lawyer and U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco who previously declared on the behalf of Apple that users are not directly harmed by the process of buying apps from the App Store.
Some justices are debating the validity of the 1977 ruling in our times as the market has changed radically in the last decades.
iPhone owners claim that limiting the distribution of apps to a single closed platform leads to increased prices as the developers have to ask for more money in order to register a satisfactory revenue. App developers won’t sue Apple themselves since the company will revoke their access to the market and they won’t be able to distribute their apps in the future.
It remains to be seen what will happen in the future if the court decides that the suit should continue.
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