Apple Could Lose ‘Hundreds of Millions’ if Found Guilty of App Store Monopoly
The closed nature of Apple’s software and devices has forced iPhone and iPad users to buy apps forcefully from the App Store. It turns out that smartphone users don’t like being restricted and this lockout has been personally annoying for a lot of users and developers alike.
Thereby making it difficult for them to install apps from ‘unauthorised’ sources, this restriction, however, forces developers to part with 30 per cent of the income from the app sales to Apple for running the App Store.
The Cupertino-based company is in court this week, having been accused of monopolising its control over the apps market for Apple devices, and the Supreme Court of the US has started hearing arguments against and in favour of this move this Monday. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs argue that the company is charging an exorbitant fee on each simple transaction, the tech giant claims that the process is ‘more complicated’, reported by BloombergQuint.
And as a result of this 30 per cent premium, developers allegedly have to increase the prices of their apps, which in return might harm the overall download figures. Apple justifies its claim by saying that the controlled environment warrants that malware and other malicious software stay out of its system, although that has been proven wrong time and time again.
Apple, in its defence, said that its users who pay for these apps are ‘indirect buyers’ and cited earlier Supreme Court judgments to contest that such users can’t sue a company for damages, thereby trying to avoid any action against itself. It also added that these processes are set by the developers themselves, claiming that users are free to choose cheaper alternatives to a specific app.
The American Antitrust Institute (AAI), which is one of the leading complainants in the lawsuit countered the Apple’s claims saying it “oversees all aspects of the sale of apps through its app store, including the regulation of prices and terms on which apps are sold.” it was further emphasized that the company is not likely to be sued by the developers, who are depended on the company for their income, thereby allowing it to act like an apathetic third-party which shrugs off any responsibility.
However, if the Supreme Court rules in Apple’s favour, its monopoly is likely to remain and maybe grow. But if rules otherwise, its consumer’s rights group will be able to sue Apple for damages, and some of these cases can even seek class-action nature seeking “hundreds of millions of dollars” in damages.
But the excellent definition of “anti-trust” violations and the lobbying by corporations might give Apple the benefit of the doubt in this case. The Supreme Court will also be delivering its final verdict on the matter latest by June 2019.