A few months ago, we talked here about the latest development of the judicial imbroglio in which Apple found itself on account of App Store. Looking back quickly: a class action lawsuit filed in 2011 accused Apple of operating a illegal monopoly with the app store – the argument was that, as the App Store is the only way for owners of iPhones and iPads to buy apps for their devices and considering the 30% fee charged by Apple to developers, the Cupertino giant would be actively making consumers pay more than necessary for applications.
As the inglorious gift of slow justice is not exclusive to Brazil, the lawsuit spent years in a water bath: in 2013, the judge of a US District Court dismissed the case alleging errors in the complaint; four years later, the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the decision and sent the case to the country’s Supreme Court, where it would need to be reviewed in order for the court to decide whether to proceed with the action or not.
So, finally, we come to the point that we will cover now: the Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to proceed with the action, but, as informed by Reuters, shows all signs of yes – that is, everything indicates that Apple will have yet another legal battle ahead.
The nine court judges spent an hour listening to Apple’s counter arguments, which advocate suspending the case on the basis of one point: that it would only be an intermediary in the sale of applications and that the actual transaction would be between developers and developers. users. To support this argument, Apple says it does not decide the prices of apps paid in the store and that charging the 30% commission does not violate US antitrust laws.
This line of defense by Apple is directly related to a 1977 Supreme Court decision, which, to prevent companies from paying twice for the same crime, defined that only direct buyers of a product could receive compensation for pricing or monopoly practices. . That is, if Apple is considered to be only an intermediary in App Store sales, chances are good that it will get out of the case; if, on the other hand, the judges decide that Apple is a distributor that sells apps to its users, the chances of being found guilty are high.
Several US regulatory agencies and secretariats directly linked to the Trump administration have positioned themselves in favor of Apple in the case, stating that consumers are not adversely affected when purchasing apps on the App Store and that the case would be valid if Apple purchased apps from developers and then resell them for a 30% higher price – which is not the case.
The Supreme Court’s final decision will not be known for a few months, probably in June next year. We will see, then, what may come out of this novel and what are the possible consequences for Apple.