Cydia, a once-popular app store for iPhone jailbreakers that launched in 2007 prior to Apple’s App Store, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Apple used anti-competitive means to nearly destroy Cydia, clearing the way for the App Store, which Cydia’s attorneys claim has a monopoly over software distribution on iOS.
Apple spokesman Fred Sainz said the company will review the lawsuit and denied that the company is a monopoly. It says it faces competition from Google’s Android operating system, which is used by competing handset makers like Samsung and Google itself. And Apple says it must tightly control the way software is installed on the iPhone to protect its customers from inadvertently downloading viruses and other security threats and from installing apps that invade its customers’ privacy.
Jay Freeman was consulting as a software developer in Santa Barbara, Calif., when the iPhone launched in 2007… Freeman quickly found himself at the center of a burgeoning community of developers building new features atop the iPhone. Those additions required unlocking the phone so that new applications would run on the operating system, much like a traditional computer. The act of unlocking the iPhone became known as “jailbreaking.” Freeman wanted to make jailbreaking and installing new software easy, even for customers with little technical knowledge. The effort resulted in Cydia, an app store where customers could install games and features, including the ability to cut and paste text.
In 2009, the U.S. Copyright Office established that jailbreaking was not an illegal activity, after Apple argued that it violated the law.
Cydia’s revenue peaked in 2011 and 2012, when it earned about $10 million, Freeman said. Cydia, like Apple, charged Apple developers a commission on sales. In 2013, as Apple’s own App Store gained more power and prominence, Cydia’s business began to dry up… Jailbreaking an iPhone has become so difficult that many in the jailbreaking community have essentially thrown in the towel and moved on, and some have declared the practice essentially dead.
MacDailyNews Take: Since Apple does not have a monopoly in any market in which they participate, there is no legal basis for antitrust action against Apple over the company’s App Store.
In the case of Apple, there is no monopoly (which is legal by the way), much less monopoly abuse (which is explicitly impossible given the nonexistence of a monopoly). You cannot abuse a monopoly when you do not have a monopoly to begin with.
• Android: 71.18%
• iOS: 28.19%
I don’t think anybody reasonable is going to come to the conclusion that Apple is a monopoly. Our share is much more modest. We don’t have a dominant position in any market… We are not a monopoly. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, June 2019