Supreme Court Rules Apple Anti-Trust Lawsuits May Move Forward

Supreme Court Rules Apple Anti-Trust Lawsuits May Move Forward

The case, Apple v. Pepper, was brought by iPhone users who complained that the App Store is the only place where iPhone apps are available and that, as a result, Apple has a monopoly on "the iPhone apps aftermarket".

By a 5-4 margin, the high court chose to uphold a lower court's decision to permit a lawsuit by consumers to go forward. Apple's response: Because the App Store is a marketplace, Apple isn't responsible for how developers price their apps.

The Supreme Court justices ruled 5-4 that a class-action lawsuit filed by consumers can proceed, the Washington Post reported.

"It is undisputed that the iPhone owners bought the apps directly from Apple", Kavanaugh wrote.

However, while app developers set their own prices, Apple collects the payments.

The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that a consumer lawsuit accusing Apple of illegally monopolizing the company´s App Store may proceed, opening a new avenue of antitrust litigation against the iPhone maker.

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The Supreme Court's majority opinion was written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh - a conservative Trump appointee - joined by the court's four liberal-leaning judges, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elia Kagan. In that case, the court limited damages for anti-competitive conduct to those directly overcharged rather than indirect victims who paid an overcharge passed on by others. What's more, Apple has far-reaching discretion over products in its store, and may remove apps for any reason whatever.

'.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'.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling. These consumers brought their case under federal antitrust laws, arguing that Apple's practices made it a monopoly.

Explaining the ruling from the bench, Kavanaugh said, 'Leaving consumers at the mercy of monopolistic retailers simply because upstream suppliers could also sue the retailers would directly contradict the longstanding goal of effective private enforcement in antitrust cases'.

Apple's store is far from the only one that takes a cut from developers.

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