A PYMNTS Company

Apple App Store Monopoly Suit Tossed, For Now

 |  January 6, 2022

Apple on Wednesday convinced a federal judge in California to toss a lawsuit alleging the tech giant has a monopoly with its iOS app store, until the plaintiff, SaurikIT, can make specific allegations that fall clearly within the statute of limitations, reported Bloomberg. 

Alternative app store SaurikIT, also known as Cydia, filed suit in 2020, alleging violations of the Sherman Act and Unfair Competition Law. Cydia said Apple lifted parts of the Cydia store and incorporated them into its App Store in 2008, and then continued to make it impossible for users to change their default preference to another app.

In December, in the Northern District of California, SaurikIT filed a complaint against Apple  alleging the tech giant has monopolized the markets for iOS app distribution and iOS app payment processing through anticompetitive conduct that shut out the competition, including the plaintiff, who had created an app store of their own.  

The plaintiff claimed that “(h)historically, distribution of apps for a specific operating system (‘OS’) occurred in a separate and robustly competitive market.” However, SaurikIT averred that Apple “began coercing users” to solely utilize its App Store for iOS apps and their distribution. Allegedly, Apple engaged in this endeavor for the economic opportunity that it provided after seeing the “economic promise that iOS app distribution represented” for other entities with their own iOS app distribution product or service, such as the plaintiff. Subsequently, Apple moved into this market and also entered the iOS app payment processing market.

SaurikIT’s Cydia, which was developed in 2008, was a once-popular iOS app distribution marketplace platform, allowing iOS users a place to discover and obtain a wide range of third-party iOS apps, such as games, productivity apps, and audiovisual apps like a video recorder because the original iPhone’s camera could only capture still photographs, the complaint said.

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