iOS Developers Sue Apple, Citing App Store Practices


Two app makers are suing Apple over what they say are anti-competitive practices by the App Store, according to a report by Reuters.

The two app developers are Illinois Pure Sweat Basketball and California-based Donald R. Cameron, and they said Apple’s practice of only letting iPhone apps be downloaded through the App Store is anti-competitive.

In the App Store, Apple requires developers to price apps in amounts that always end in 99 cents, and it also takes up to 30 percent of a commission from developers.

“This practice is analogous to a monopsonist retailer paying artificially low wholesale prices to its suppliers,” the developers said in the suit. “In both paradigms a competitive market would yield better post-commission or wholesale prices, and fairer profit, for developers’ digital products.”

The lawsuit is similar to one brought by consumers that was recently allowed to move forward by the U.S. Supreme Court. In that suit, consumers argue that Apple artificially inflates software prices.

The case stalled because the legal question was whether the suit could be brought by consumers because developers are the ones who are contracted with Apple. However, the suit is moving forward.

There has not been a ruling in either case, but the cases are running parallel with a European Union complaint by Spotify against Apple, with Spotify arguing that Apple’s policies make it harder to compete against Apple Music. EU regulators are waiting to hear a response from Apple.

Apple has said it doesn’t favor any apps in the store, and it pointed to Microsoft’s email apps thriving on the app store as evidence of this.

The company also pointed out that free apps aren’t subject to its billing system and don’t cost more than a $99 fee to developers to use.

Apple said 84 percent of all of its apps are free and have generated $120 billion in payouts for app developers.

“We believe competition makes everything better and results in the best apps for our customers,” Apple said.


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