U.S. Supreme Court to consider Apple appeal in antitrust suit over App Store prices

“The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Apple Inc.’s bid to kill an antitrust lawsuit over the market for iPhone apps in a case that could shield e-commerce companies from consumer claims over high commissions,” Greg Stohr reports for Bloomberg. “”

“The lawsuit accuses Apple of monopolizing the app market so it can charge excessive commissions of 30 percent,” Stohr reports. “Apple, backed by the Trump administration, says it can’t be sued because the commission is levied on the app developers, not the purchasers who are suing.”

“A victory for Apple could insulate companies that run online marketplaces and interact with consumers on behalf of third-party sellers,” Stohr reports. “‘This is a critical question for antitrust law in the era of electronic commerce,’ Apple argued… The court will hear arguments and rule in the nine-month term that starts in October. The case is Apple v. Pepper, 17-204.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote in August 2013:

First: One would assume that a large corporation such as Apple would have had competent legal advice when they set up their App Store, in order that it be set up in legal fashion.

Second: On every iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and iPad mini box, the potential buyer is informed of requirements, including “iTunes X.x or later required for some features” and also that an “iTunes Store account” is required. The plaintiffs were informed of the requirements prior to purchase. If the plaintiffs didn’t like the terms that came along with Apple devices, they should have opted for a pretend iPhone from any one of a dime-a-dozen handset assemblers. Then they could blissfully infest their fake iPhones with malware from a variety of sources.

Third: Apple doesn’t set the prices for paid apps.

Fourth: The amount by which Apple Inc. has driven down software prices across the board, on every major computing platform, makes legal actions such as this eminently laughable.

SEE ALSO:
US DOJ sides with Apple over App Store antitrust allegations in Supreme Court brief – May 10, 2018
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revives antitrust lawsuit against Apple – January 13, 2017
Apple App Store antitrust complaint dismissed on procedural grounds by U.S. judge – August 16, 2013

33 Comments

  1. Apple charges a 30% commission. Take it or leave it. It should be noted that:

    * Apple created, maintains, and evolves the iOS ecosystem – iOS and iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.), app development framework and tools, the App Store

    * Apple manages the accounts and handles the transactions in the App Store

    * Apple vets the third party software submitted to the App Store to protect the consumer from malware, data mining, and other flawed or malicious software

    * When developers offer apps for free, then Apple gets 30% of nothing, even though the company still incurs the costs associated with hosting and distributing the software.

    What form could this ruling take? If Apple is found guilty of charging “excessive commissions of 30%,” then what commission percentage would be acceptable? 25%? 20%? Who would determine the acceptable rate, and on what basis? Should an independent panel be set up to determine acceptable rates, like a utility commission? Please, no! And who, other than Apple, might be guilty of charging excessive commissions in a “monopolistic” situation? Google? Amazon? Facebook?

    Congress needs to get off of its collective a$$ and get back to crafting meaningful and well-reasoned legislation that addressed key economic and social issues in the technology revolution. For example, in a time when long term interest rates remain historically low (10Y ~2.917%), the government should be far more concerned with usury policies that inordinately impact the poor – revolving credit card rates of 29% or higher and payday loans at annualized rates well exceeding 100%. Instead, the current Administration has gutted the CPB, because it is unthinkable for corporations to have to respond to ordinary citizens without the unfair protection of binding arbitration whose rules are defined by the corporation to its extreme advantage.

    1. “What form should the ruling take?”

      Everybody gets a key to their gate in the wall, and then competition does the rest. In Android it’s called “Alternate Sources” and is off by default.

      1. Ain’t gonna happen sparky. I would rather people like you didn’t force me to use a less safe, less secure product. Spare me your BS that your remedy wouldn’t make Apple devices less secure. Make your own choices. Don’t foist your choices on me appletyrant.

          1. As I said “Spare me your BS that your remedy wouldn’t make Apple devices less secure.”

            Good thing you don’t have the power to force your choices on the rest of us appletyrant.

            1. You have utterly failed to prove I would force you to do anything. Choice is not forcing. I would not force you to use anything other than Apple’s App Store. It’s you that’s forcing me to comply with what YOU want, on MY property.

              It’s you that’s the Appletyrrant.

      2. And when someone’s iPhone gets bricked or compromised because of a piece of software downloaded from “outside the wall” who do you think will get sued? The shady Russian/Chinese/Korean outfit that planted the malware behind the wall, or the largest corporation in the world?

          1. Apple has no obligation if you brick your iPhone by going outside the walled garden. Apple can charge you to do a factory reset but there is zero obligation. You don’t get to use Apple’s resources for free after YOUR actions caused harm to your device.

            1. You can say that, No No No. But the fact is that many people will still blame Apple and demand that the company fix it. And, if Apple declined to do so (as would be the company’s right, at least in the U.S.), then people would still butch and complain and sue – all of which would be a big negative for Apple

              There is no upside for Apple to opening up the walled garden. And I will stand by Apple in its efforts to resist judicial and regulatory overreach and stick to its winning strategy that best serves its customer base.

          2. “If bricked, a factory reset ought to be Apple’s only obligation.”

            You’ve admitted now that Apple has no obligation. That’s progress. Good for you. It also seems that you finally understand Apple’s business and resources WOULD be impacted by your very dumb idea. I don’t want Apple wasting one second or one penny on people who muck up their devices by roaming around outside the walled garden. Sadly it would be inevitable. Apple would have to devote resources to those people. In your first comment on the subject you showed your entitled nature by saying “a factory reset ought to be Apple’s only obligation”. No, if Apple wastes one second or one penny on your mucked up device then that impacts me and your whole BS line about your dumb idea not impacting anyone but those who choose to go outside the walled garden is destroyed. Thanks for playing appletyrant.

            1. This is not about Apple’s interest’s. It’s about mine, and by extension ANY user’s.

              Anti-trust law exists to protect consumers, not companies and stockholders. Thanks for playing.

          3. “This is not about Apple’s interest’s. It’s about mine, and by extension ANY user’s.”

            Your dumb idea would affect my interests if Apple has to spend even one second or even one penny supporting devices outside the walled garden.

            This is about your interests period. You don’t care one whit about anyone else appletyrant. If you had the power you would force your view of technology on everyone. Because you think your way is the right way (said every tyrant ever). You don’t even have the guts to be honest about this.

            1. Your just protecting your stock, I don’t care about that.
              Your credibility as a user has gone to sell-out level.

              BTW, you don’t get to micro-manage Apple even for one second, or set their budget to even one penny…

              See ya. Schmuck!

            2. That “smuck” most likely is banned Citizen X. Deceptively changing and CREATING new avatar screen names on a daily basis to avoid detection. I count a couple here on this thread. How honest of him and then he preaches his typical hate and insults mostly aimed at conservatives and anyone that holds Apple accountable …

    2. If the 4 points you note replace Apple/iOS with Google/Android, it may promote the appearance of Apple having a monopoly position for iOS apps. This might become an argument for ‘opening’ up iOS apps to competition via 3rd party App stores.

  2. From AP:

    “But the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 revived the litigation, saying Apple was a distributor that sold iPhone apps directly to consumers and must face the antitrust claims.”

    Love it. A liberal court going after a liberal company dodging piles of feces and homeless on the sidewalk on their way to the office …

  3. “Fourth: The amount by which Apple Inc. has driven down software prices across the board, on every major computing platform, makes legal actions such as this eminently laughable.”

    I can remember when the absolute minimum price for any software was AU$80. Even something like a basic file conversion utility.

    It was sold on floppy disk (yeah, that long ago, but still…) and it seemed that even if the software itself was only worth a dollar or so, by the time every person or company in the chain took their cut it ended up being a minimum of AU$80.

    Needless to say, I have NO complaints about App Store prices! 🙂

  4. So if I understand correctly, Apple is going to the Supreme Court, to prevent a lower court case from even happening? Case must have merit, to warrant the attention of SCOTUS.

    If there an attorney in the house?

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