iOS devs sue Apple over ‘profit-killing‘ App Store fees


Anti-robocall bill is one step closer to being passed into law
Fees Apple charges iOS developers to appear in the App Store are the focus of a new lawsuit.
Photo: CC

A law firm is looking for iOS developers to join a class-action suit against Apple for the way it runs the App Store. The lawyers accuse the company of “anticompetitive practices.”

One of their goals is to open up distribution of iPhone and iPad apps, which currently can only be downloaded through Apple. The lawsuit also wants a decrease in the commissions devs must pay.

This case has been brewing since at least 2012. That’s when developers went to court to assert their right to sue Apple. They took that case all the way to the Supreme Court, and recently won.

Again, all that got the developers was the right to take Apple to court over its App Store polices. This morning, the law firm Hagens Berman filed such a suit against the iPhone maker in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose on behalf of iOS developers.

iOS developers demand App Store changes

“Between Apple’s 30 percent cut of all App Store sales, the annual fee of $99 and pricing mandates, Apple blatantly abuses its market power to the detriment of developers, who are forced to use the only platform available to them to sell their iOS app,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney representing the proposed class of developers. “In a competitive landscape, this simply would not happen.”

The developers and their lawyers also complain that Apple set a lower limit of 99 cents for paid apps or in-app products. It also requires that all App Store purchases end in $.99.

A statement put out by the firm says the class-action lawsuit “seeks to force Apple to end its abusive monopoly and allow competition in the distribution of iOS apps and related products, to get rid of its pricing mandates, and to reimburse developers for overcharges made through abuse of its monopoly power.”

This law firm is looking for iOS developers to join its proposed class-action suit. A form on its website allows people to sign up.

Hagens Berman might be familiar to purchasers of e-books. In 2016, the firm won a suit against Apple and other publishing companies that went to the Supreme Court. A settlement forced the companies to pay $560 million to e-book buyers.

The brouhaha over App Store fees and restrictions extends across the Pond. Last month, the European Union decided that there’s enough evidence to justify a formal investigation into Apple’s business practices.



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