A group of iOS developers launched a class action lawsuit against Apple regarding the way it has cornered the iOS market through its App Store, law company Hagens Berman said.
The complainants said Apple used its monopoly to implement “profit killing” commissions and fees on developers. The company takes a 30 per cent cut of app sales and in-app purchases, and also charges commission on subscriptions purchased in-app.
Hagens Berman also pointed to a $99 annual developer fee which is “especially damaging to smaller and new developers”, and argued putting all apps together into a single store means consumers never see most titles, “stifling competition and innovation”.
In the lawsuit, the developers state: “Apple admits that it shuts out all competition from app-distribution to iOS device consumers, ostensibly to protect its device customers from bad apps and malware. But this is overblown pretence. There is no reason to believe that other reputable vendors, including Amazon, for example, could not host an app store and provide a trustworthy app-distribution system if Apple were to open up its system to other providers.”
Hagens Berman noted it won a suit against Apple and various publishing companies in 2016 related to e-book pricing.
“We have successfully held Apple to the law in the past, and we intend to fight hard for the rights of iOS developers who bring their hard work and creativity to the iOS App Store with the hope of fairly monetising their creations,” said Steve Berman, managing partner.
The company is seeking input from more developers.
Several weeks ago, the US Supreme Court ruled iPhone owners could take legal action against Apple for its actions in the app market. The company subsequently began a charm offensive outlining how its activities have contributed to the success of the app economy.