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iOS developers suing Apple over App Store monopoly allegations

Published: 23:04, 04 June 2019
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Developer of overpriced gear Apple has been sued by a group of iOS developers, who accused the company of willingly resorting to monopoly and charging 'profit-killing' commissions from devs, who have no other way to reach iOS users.

The class-action lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on the behalf of Pure Sweat Basketball, Inc from Illinois, USA, California-based developer of Lil’ Baby Names app Donald Cameron, and "others similarly situated".

Filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, who will be meeting Apple in court for the second time since ridding them of $560 million back in 2016 for price-fixing, the lawsuit argues that when it comes to iOS - it's Apple's way or the highway.

"[Developers] have no choice in the matter, but not because Apple built an app store that beat all comers fair and square. Instead, from the outset, Apple attained monopoly power in the U.S. market for iOS app and in-app-product distribution services by slamming the door shut on any and all potential competitors", the lawsuit reads.

The firm also alleges that Apple's 30 per cent commission, $99 annual developer fee and "its pricing mandate have depressed output of paid app and in-app-product transactions."

According to Apple's guidelines, developers cannot offer paid products "at less than $.99 or at price points ending in anything other than $.99", which ensures the company's profits are sound, while cutting "unlawfully into what would have been developers' earnings in a competitive landscape."

To make matters worse, Apple's App Store favours low-priced and free apps, which means reduced visibility for devs, and it all boils down to the fact that recouping costs and making a profit on iOS is a thankless and incredibly difficult task.

Epic Games Hands holding a phone running Fortnite: Battle Royale iOS Fortnite Battle Royale, iOS version

"After 11 years of monopoly conduct and profits, we think it's high time that a court examine Apple's practices on behalf of iOS app developers and take action as warranted by the law and facts", said Steve Berman, managing partner of the Hagens Berman firm.

You can find the lawsuit or if you're a dev, you can join the class-action Apple .

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