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Supreme Court weighs in on Apple antitrust violation suit

| May 24, 2019 | Business & Commercial Litigation |

It’s almost hard to imagine how we managed our daily lives without smartphones, and a critical player in the advent of smartphones was Apple. Almost everyone in Tennessee has either used the Apple Store to purchase an app for their smartphone or they know someone who has. However, the tech giant is facing legal troubles of its own in the form of a class action lawsuit alleging antitrust violations.

In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled recently to permit an antitrust class action lawsuit against Apple to continue. The court stated that customers have the right to try to show that Apple used its clout as a monopoly to increase the price of apps on iPhones.

The subject of the lawsuit is the 30 percent commission Apple charges those who develop and sell their products at Apple stores. Also addressed in the lawsuit is the bar Apple has on developers selling their products on other platforms. App developers believe these practices are not fair.

People and app developers now must rely on Apple’s App Store in the same manner that they would if it was a basic utility. The App Store is responsible for making ride sharing apps a reality as well as apps for ordering food and social media apps. Large rivals can avoid Apple’s fees by having consumers subscribe to them directly, but small app developers would not have the financial resources to do this.

Much attention is being paid to this case, as it will determine whether price-based antitrust claims can sufficiently deal with Apple and other large technology companies. This case will also determine whether the competitive process should be a part of antitrust law. Legal scholars and others who are interested in the outcome of this class action lawsuit will want to keep a close eye on how the case unfolds, as it could have long-reaching effects.