Apple Faces Class Action for iPhone App Store Monopoly

Apple Faces Class Action for iPhone App Store Monopoly

Apple Faces Class Action for iPhone App Store Monopoly

Apple Faces Class Action for iPhone App Store Monopoly

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  • Judge OKs Apple class action for app store monopoly.
  • Class narrowed to $10+ spenders.
  • Consumers claim “billions” in damages.
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In a significant development on Friday, a U.S. federal judge granted approval for tens of millions of Apple customers to proceed with a class action lawsuit, accusing the tech giant of monopolizing the iPhone app market.

The accusation stems from Apple’s alleged practice of prohibiting app purchases outside its App Store, which consumers claim has led to inflated prices.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers had initially declined to certify the class action in March 2022. However, a change of heart occurred after the class was narrowed down to include only Apple account holders who had spent $10 or more on app or in-app content. Despite expressing concerns about potential harm to more than 10 million accounts (7.9% of the total), Judge Rogers emphasized that this number could be further reduced, and there was no fixed cutoff for denying certification.

Apple’s attempt to exclude testimony from two expert witnesses, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel McFadden, was also rejected by the judge. The testimony was related to how Apple’s practices may have adversely impacted consumers.

Mark Rifkin, the attorney representing the consumers, expressed his satisfaction with the decision, stating that he looked forward to the next phase of the 12-year-old antitrust case. Rifkin estimated that the class had suffered “billions of dollars in damages.”

Class actions have the potential to result in larger recoveries at a lower cost compared to individual lawsuits. This ruling marks another legal challenge for Apple, which has been facing increased scrutiny over its App Store policies.

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Judge Rogers, who has overseen other high-profile cases involving Apple, including the antitrust case brought by Epic Games, ordered the tech giant in September 2021 to loosen restrictions on where developers can seek payment for their apps. However, the order stopped short of requiring Apple to permit downloads to iPhones outside its App Store.

In April 2023, a federal appeals court upheld much of Judge Rogers’ earlier ruling, and last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene. The ongoing case is officially titled “In re Apple iPhone Antitrust Litigation” and is taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under case number 11-06714. Apple has not yet responded to requests for comment on the recent developments.

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