In the U.S., a group of users is attempting to pursue a class action claiming that Apple would have exploited the popularity of the iOS platform to create a closed ecosystem, locking users into an aftermarket that Apple would force them to use in order to derive commissions and various charges that allow the company to generate profits, the latter obtained by practicing “supra-competitive prices”.
This is reported by the site Appleinsider explaining that the proposed class action was filed in the District Court for the Northern District of California stating in the documents that Apple practices anti-competitive behavior by limiting iPhones, iPods and other devices to its operating system, forcing developers to accept the terms of the App Store for the aforementioned system, restricting third-party marketplaces and, above all, demanding a 30% commission for purchases on the App Store.
The quote highlights changes to Apple’s policies forcing developers to go through Apple’s App Store, including rules affecting subscriptions, in-app purchases and contracts defined as restrictive.
Apple doesn’t apply the same restrictions on the Mac: on macOS, you can install both apps from the App Store and apps distributed through other systems. “The rationale for Apple’s anticompetitive conduct is simple: it does not want to end the revenue stream from iOS devices when a user buys a device, as it does when a user buys an iMac or MacBook,” the documents filed in court read. “So Apple has devised and continues to support a plan to continue to derive additional revenue over the useful life of every iOS device it sells by monopolizing the iOS app distribution market and charging consumers an extra 30% per app.”
The document goes on to say that consumers are paying more for their apps because Apple has allegedly annihilated competition on its platform, preventing users from buying apps from other stores that might offer apps at lower prices.
According to the plaintiffs who are attempting to push the class action through, Apple has violated both the competition laws of the Sherman Act of 1890 (the first federal law enacted in response to what appeared to be a concentration of economic power in large corporations) and the California Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) and are therefore asking for a judgment preventing Apple from selling devices without first obtaining the user’s contractual consent to use the App Store. There is, of course, no shortage of claims for damages and attorneys’ fees.