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COURT TAKES A BITE OUT OF APPLE

The Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs Monday in an antitrust class action against Apple over its App Store. Will the courts eventually decide that Apple’s App Store is a monopoly?

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow the antitrust lawsuit against Apple, Apple v. Pepper, to  proceed, rejecting Apple’s position that that iOS App Store users are not truly Apple customers. Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the liberal judges in upholding the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision.

Apple charges a 30% commission on apps sold in their online store and prevents developers from selling their products elsewhere.

 “A claim that a monopolistic retailer (here, Apple) has used its monopoly to overcharge consumers is a classic antitrust claim. But Apple asserts that the [iOS users] in this case may not sue Apple because they supposedly were not ‘direct purchasers’” Kavanaugh wrote. “We disagree. The plaintiffs purchased apps directly from Apple and therefore are direct purchasers.”

There are plenty of legal hurdles ahead but if successful, Apple could be shelling out a significant payment as antitrust plaintiffs are entitled to triple damages.

Meanwhile, we await a ruling from Europe over Spotify’s issue with Apple. Stay tuned.

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