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Divided Supreme Court OKs Lawsuit Against Apple

iPhone users sued over the App Store
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2019 10:55 AM CDT
In this May 31, 2018, file photo, customers enter an Apple Store in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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(Newser) – A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that consumers can pursue an antitrust lawsuit that claims Apple has unfairly monopolized the market for the sale of iPhone apps, the AP reports. New Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court's four liberals in rejecting a plea from Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple to end the lawsuit over the 30% commission the company charges software developers whose more than 2 million apps are sold through the App Store. iPhone users who must purchase software for their smartphones exclusively through Apple's App Store filed the suit. Apple keeps 30% of the sales price, Kavanaugh said in a summary he read from the bench. "In other words, Apple as retailer pockets a 30% commission on every app sale," said Kavanaugh.

That was enough to persuade that at this early stage of the legal fight, the lawsuit can continue, he said. Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's other pick, wrote a dissent for four conservative justices. The consumers' complaint against Apple is the kind of case earlier high-court rulings said was not allowed under federal laws that prohibit unfair control of a market, Gorsuch wrote. Apple had argued it's merely a pipeline between app developers and consumers, and that iPhone users have no claims against Apple under antitrust law. The suit could force Apple to cut the commission it charges software developers. A judge could triple the compensation to consumers under antitrust law if Apple ultimately loses the suit.

(Read more Apple stories.)

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