The Supreme Court ruled against Apple in a recent lawsuit, allowing a case claiming that the company’s app store is a monopoly to go ahead.
Variety reports that the Supreme Court has made a ruling against tech giant Apple in a recent case, allowing a class-action lawsuit which alleges that Apple’s App Store is a monopoly to go ahead. Four iPhone owners sued the company in a case titled Apple v. Pepper, which alleges that Apple has illegally monopolized the app aftermarket for iPhones as the company’s App Store charges a 30 percent commission to developers that wish to publish iPhone apps. This cost is then passed on to consumers.
In a 5-4 ruling, a Ninth Circuit decision was upheld which stated that iPhone owners were direct purchasers as they purchased apps directly from Apple’s app store. Following the ruling, Apple shares dropped by five percent — the stock was already under pressure due to the tariff dispute between the U.S. and China.
The Supreme Court decision includes:
Apple posits that allowing only the upstream app developers — and not the downstream consumers — to sue Apple would mean more effective antitrust enforcement. But that makes little sense, and it would directly contradict the longstanding goal of effective private enforcement and consumer protection in antitrust cases.
The Supreme Court further added that “this is not a case where multiple parties at different levels of a distribution chain are trying to recover the same passed-through overcharge initially levied by the manufacturer at the top of the chain.” The majority decision was reached by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Justice Neil Gorsuch filed dissenting opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.