SCOTUS Greenlights Apple App Store Antitrust Lawsuit

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The United States Supreme Court on Monday gave thumbs up for a class action antitrust lawsuit to proceed against Apple for alleged monopolistic practices at its App Store.

In the case, Apple Inc. v. Pepper et al., the consumer plaintiffs maintain the Cupertino, California, company has monopolized the retail market for the sale of apps, and that it used its position to charge higher-than-competitive prices for the software it sells in its App Store.

Apple tried to keep the case from advancing in the courts by arguing that it doesn’t set the prices for software it sells at the App Store. The developers of the software set the prices, so the company has only an indirect relationship to pricing.

In a previous decision, Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, the Court ruled that antitrust lawsuits could be filed only against a company that had direct control over prices paid by a plaintiff.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, didn’t buy Apple’s logic.

“The plaintiffs purchased apps directly from Apple and therefore are direct purchasers under Illinois Brick,” he wrote.

“At this early pleadings stage of the litigation, we do not assess the merits of the plaintiffs’ antitrust claims against Apple, nor do we consider any other defenses Apple might have,” Kavanaugh continued. “We merely hold that the Illinois Brick direct-purchaser rule does not bar these plaintiffs from suing Apple under the antitrust laws.”

Source: Tech News World

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