A lawsuit targeting Apple and the App Store will be allowed to proceed, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided.
The case involves whether or customers technically buy apps from Apple, or whether Apple is a middleman connecting app developers with consumers. The Supreme Court ruled against Apple on Monday by 5 votes to 4.
Apple Inc. v. Robert Pepper
The Apple Inc. v. Robert Pepper case dates back to 2011. The broad argument is that Apple has artificially driven up the price of apps by virtue of its monopolistic control over the App Store. By passing the cost of Apple’s 30% cut onto consumers, iPhone users argue that it is an unfair use of monopoly power. Apple, meanwhile, argued that only app developers — and not users — should be able to bring this lawsuit against Apple.
“Apple’s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander Apple out of this and similar lawsuits,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote. You can read the entire decision related to the case here.
This verdict is not going to have an immediate major impact on Apple. However, the implications of it could change the “matchmaking” relationship that Apple has with its customers over time. In other words, it might have big eventual ramifications for Apple’s current business model.
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.