San Francisco, May 14: In a major blow to Apple, the US Supreme Court has ruled that consumers can pursue their anti-trust lawsuit and sue the company for forcing them to buy apps exclusively from it through its App Store.
The suit alleges that consumers pay inflated prices because Apple requires all phone software be sold and purchased through its App Store.
Apple argued that only app developers, and not users, should be able to bring such a lawsuit. But the Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, rejected the demand.
“The case brings the most direct legal challenge in the US to the clout that Apple has built up through its App Store. And it raises questions about how the company has wielded that power, amid a wave of anti-tech sentiment that has also prompted concerns about the dominance of other tech behemoths such as Facebook and Amazon,” The New York Times reported on Monday.
“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 Kavanaugh wrote, according to the CNBC.
App makers and users have come to rely on Apple’s App Store almost as if it was an utility.
Apple’s App Store features more than two million apps and generated more than $26 billion in payments to developers in 2017, according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, the decision was hailed by consumer advocates like the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT).
“Today, more and more of consumers’ purchases go through platforms, where sellers and buyers meet virtually via technology, instead of in brick-and-mortar stores,” Avery Gardiner, CDT’s senior fellow for competition, data and power, was quoted as saying by the Wired.