U.S. Supreme Court to Review Apple App Store Dispute Under Antitrust Law

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Apple, Inc. v. Pepper, a case that has the potential to impact consumers and other companies, such as Amazon. Plaintiffs in the case, who are iPhone consumers, allege that Apple is monopolizing the app market by charging app developers an excessive thirty-percent commission fee and prohibiting iOS apps to be sold outside of its own App Store.

Backed by the Trump administration, Apple argues that current United States antitrust laws do not afford the plaintiffs the right to sue. Its commission is imposed on app developers, Apple argues, not the consumers who are suing.

The suit seeks class action status and could directly impact consumers and companies which oversee online marketplaces where third-party sellers are involved. This includes companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, according to the argument Apple has put forth. A win for Apple could shield such companies from further monopoly claims and suits involving other alleged antitrust violations.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments and is expected to rule in the nine-month term that begins this coming October.

See also Pepper v. Apple, Inc. (9th Cir. 2017) on Justia

Additional Reading

Apple Gets U.S. Supreme Court Review on iPhone App Fee Suit, Bloomberg, June 18, 2018

The Supreme Court Will Decide if Apple’s App Store is a Monopoly, WIRED, June 18, 2018

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