Trump administration backs Apple in U.S. Supreme Court over App Store antitrust suit

“U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday appeared open to letting a lawsuit proceed against Apple Inc that accused it of breaking federal antitrust laws by monopolizing the market for iPhone software applications and causing consumers to overpay,” Andrew Chung reports for Reuters. “The lawsuit said Apple violated federal antitrust laws by requiring apps to be sold through the company’s App Store and then taking a 30 percent commission from the purchases.”

“The case may hinge on how the justices apply one of the court’s past decisions to the claims against Apple,” Chung reports. “That 1977 precedent limited damages for anti-competitive conduct to those directly overcharged rather than indirect victims who paid an overcharge passed on by others.”

“Apple was backed by Republican President Donald Trump’s administration,” Chung reports. “Some liberal and conservative justices sharply questioned an attorney for Apple and U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who argued on behalf of the administration on the company’s side, over their argument that the consumers were not directly affected by purchasing the apps from Apple. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan, explaining how an App Store purchase is handled, said, ‘From my perspective, I’ve just engaged in a one-step transaction with Apple.'”

Apple CEO Tim Cook and U.S. President Donald Trump at tech summit in June
Apple CEO Tim Cook and U.S. President Donald Trump at tech summit in June 2017
“Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts’ questions suggested he agreed with Apple’s position. Roberts expressed concern that, for a single price increase, Apple could be held liable by both consumers and App developers,” Chung reports. “Apple, also backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group, has argued that a ruling siding with the iPhone users who filed the lawsuit would threaten the burgeoning field of e-commerce, which generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually in U.S. retail sales.”

“Liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer seemed certain that the iPhone buyers’ claims should go forward,” Chung reports. “The company sought to have the antitrust claims dismissed, arguing that the plaintiffs lacked the required legal standing to bring the lawsuit. A federal judge in Oakland threw out the suit, saying the consumers were not direct purchasers because the higher fees they paid were passed on to them by the developers. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the case last year, finding that Apple was a distributor that sold iPhone apps directly to consumers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold existing legal precedent by finding in favor of Apple which is not a distributor that sells iPhone apps directly to consumers. App developers sell iPhone apps directly to consumers.

Setting aside the security implications, the Ninth Circuit decision should be overturned simply because Apple’s App Store customers are the app developers, not the app consumers.

Apple owns the shopping mall. The developers pay Apple for space within. The end customer buys their apps from the developers. Indirect purchasers of goods or services along a supply chain cannot seek remedies over antitrust claims.

See Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois.MacDailyNews, October 31, 2018

Apple defends App Store fees in U.S. Supreme Court – November 26, 2018
Apple defends App Store fees as U.S. Supreme Court weighs consumer suit – November 23, 2018
Apple wants U.S. Supreme Court to undo previous decision regarding an antitrust suit – October 31, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court will decide if Apple’s App Store is an anti-competitive monopoly – June 19, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court to consider Apple appeal in antitrust suit over App Store prices – June 18, 2018
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


  1. Oh my god! He’s such a racist homophobe islamaphobe antisemitic orange hair dumb stupid sexist jackass!

    (Gotta practice. Met a cute liberal woman over the weekend.)

    1. And xenophobic, the left’s favorite. Good luck with the liberal cutie. Not to taint you, I tried that a couple times and it did not work out. In my experience, the most so called tolerant liberals ended up being the LEAST tolerant…

          1. Well, GoeBlow, is it acceptable according to the video recording of a certain wealthy politician who seemed to relish abusing his position of power.

            Of course, you know very well that TxUser was using sarcasm for effect. You simply did not like the accuracy of the barb.

            1. Well Melvin, I did not see a sarcasm tag. Whatever, low blow despicable comment and totally off topic that you two clowns adore and excel in — lose the HATE…

    2. Wow..You have lost it man.. big time.
      I had respect for you…but you proved yourself unworthy..
      You seem to suffer from cognitive dissonance!

      Gone to my ignore list permanantly .

        1. I hope not Goe.. but if i have i would be the wrong person to ask ….😅

          As to my previous post “ take a wild guess”
          It was meant as joke/sarcasm.. which i believe like, me above, was miss understood.
          I meant it as.. ‘ come on Goe, how else could i know for 100%.. ‘.

          Unless u think i would bs and claim such a thing unfoundedly there are only two ways i would know for 100%
          1-I am Tim Cook….
          2-Or i have direct irrefutable evidence..
          (actually quite a few.. and have zero doubt where it comes from)


      1. Wow, yojimbo007, you are ready to believe anything. You saw the source of the post – tmac. That should have tipped you off given all of his posts over the years.

        It is pretty funny when one of you gets pranked by one of your own and gets spun up!

  2. Oh, for crying out loud, this wasn’t backed by the Trump administration, it’s backed by the Justice Department, for technical reasons. This has nothing to do with Trump.

    This site continually pretends that everything good is trump backed. What nonsense!

    1. A) The DOJ is part of the Executive branch
      2- (from the article) “Apple was backed by Republican President Donald Trump’s administration.”

      But other than that…

    2. melgross,

      You don’t seem to understand the maxim, “Heads I win, Tails you lose.” When the Justice Department does something that the President likes, his supporters say “Thank you, Mr. T.” When it does something they don’t like, it is an agent of the Deep State.

      When the stock market is going up, it is “Thank you, Mr. T.” When it is going down, they either ignore that entirely or blame it on a woman who never had anything to do with economic policy and hasn’t held a government job in eight years.

      You CAN have it both ways: you can take credit for supporting a foreign despot who murdered an American resident… because oil prices are going down. At the same time, you can avoid any blame for a drastic slowdown in the local economy of US states like Texas and Oklahoma… because oil prices are going down.

      So, on a day when 14,000 auto workers lost their jobs, one can still say “Thank you, Mr. T.”

      1. Those jobs were doomed the moment Obama took over GM and screwed the bond holders, then lied to the American people about electric cars.

        Had GM gone bankrupt and reorganized into responsible business I doubt the cuts would have been as severe.

      2. “You CAN have it both ways: you can take credit for supporting a foreign despot who murdered an American resident… because oil prices are going down.”

        Sure you can. Obama was the gold standard for eight years. Not surprised a LIBERAL LIAR insulting our intelligence by pretending to be a straight conservative is the Número Uno FAKE and LIE on MDN. CONGRATS!

        “ a foreign despot who murdered an American resident” Earlier today advocating sexual assault against women, deplorable and you should be ashamed of yourself and owe women an apology. I will not hold my breath. You could not help yourself and went FURTHER to irresponsibly accuse a shadow unnamed despot bogeyman of murdering an American citizen with ABSOLUTELY ZERO PROOF! You could not help yourself again and went ridiculously FURTHER to irresponsibility imply somehow President Trump benefited and did nothing in exchange for lower oil prices.

        Your political fantasies, thank God are NOT facts. You are so far out of touch with reality it borders on mental illness…

  3. I’ll give SCOTUS a simple example to explain this is not an Antitrust issue. Simple market economics… Louis Vuitton (think of them as the developer) sells their wares in high end locations. They chose to pay a premium for location to get the best customers and increased sales (think Apple). They don’t want to sell in Strip malls or Outlets (Think Android), as they won’t make many sales or much profit. If you don’t already know, all malls make a percentage of their tenants sales (Think App Stores). So are the malls colluding? I don’t think so. They set their rate (rent and sales %) The developer has a choice. If you don’t want to pay, by a knockoff Louey Vittone (aka Android) 😉

  4. Meanwhile, in an actual Trump dumbass move:
    Nov 26, 2018 | 5:47 PM ET
    President Donald Trump has threatened to put a 10% tariff on the iPhone and other consumer electronics, and markets have reacted sharply.
    Apple stock dropped by about $2.50, or over 1.5%, in after-hours trading.

  5. Don’t call them developers; It sounds as if they are not the owners. Better to call them owners, product owners.

    App owners beg Apple to rent them space, so Apple rents them the space for a certain price to which they agree. The dispute, if any, should center on the amount of rent Apple charges and wether it’s reasonable or whether it’s gouging. I think Apple’s rent is reasonable at 30%. MS charges about the same rent. Because Apple does not own the apps, the case is bogus so I side with Rightwingers this time. I am certain that sleezeball Thomas will side with Apple and I hope that Brett M. Kavanaugh sides with it too.

    Art galleries charge the artist anywhere from 40% to 60%. I am fine with those figures as long as the gallery is a top marketer.

    1. The mall example and your example of an art gallery may seem reasonable until you realize it’s like a national chain being limited to only have a store in a single mall conglomerate’s properties or an artist being forced to only consign at a single art gallery.

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