Apple faces customer lawsuit over app store

What to expect from Apple's WWDC event in June 2019 iOS 13 watchOS 6 macOS 10.15

iPhone users who must purchase software for their smartphones exclusively through Apple's App Store filed the suit.

Apple said it was like the owner of a shopping mall who could not held liable for monopoly prices charged by one or more of the retail stores. This commission structure results in higher prices for consumers, the plaintiffs argued. If Apple is found to be a monopolist they may have to refund billions to consumers or may even be forced to open up the iPhone to alternate app stores. Based on its own interpretation of the legal precedent, Apple argues that consumers can only sue the developers due to their role setting prices. During oral arguments past year, conservative Justice Samuel Alito questioned if the precedent that Apple cited now "stands up" in the digital ecosystem.

"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.

"Apple's theory would provide a roadmap for monopolistic retailers to structure transactions with manufacturers or suppliers so as to evade antitrust claims by consumers and thereby thwart effective antitrust enforcement", Kavanaugh wrote. Justice Neil Gorsuch led the conservatives in dissent.

A spokeswoman for Apple could not immediately be reached for comment. For subscriptions, Apple collects a 15 percent share after the first year.

More news: Get in line, USA: Sweden reopens Assange rape case

Apple took a trip to the Supreme Court and left with a loss.

Given the iPhone 5S is pushing six years old - a veritable pensioner in smartphone years - its upcoming retirement party wouldn't be particularly surprising.

A month ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2019), a report has come out claiming that Apple won't upgrade a substantial number of iOS devices that received iOS 12, to expected iOS 13.

After a federal judge in Oakland, California threw out the suit, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived it in 2017, finding that Apple was a distributor that sold iPhone apps directly to consumers.

Apple, which was also backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group, had sought to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiffs lacked the required legal standing to bring the lawsuit.

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