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Apple faces $1 bln UK lawsuit by apps developers over app store fees

Apple faces $1 bln UK lawsuit by apps developers over app store fees

On the 25th of July, a significant legal development unfolded as tech giant Apple (AAPL.O) became the subject of a substantial class action lawsuit in the United Kingdom. More than 1,500 app developers have come together to bring this lawsuit against Apple, seeking a staggering £785 million (approximately $1 billion) in damages over their App Store fees.

Apple’s services business, particularly the App Store, has experienced exponential revenue growth in recent years, reaching an impressive $20 billion per quarter. However, the company’s commission structure, which charges app makers anywhere from 15% to 30% for utilizing the in-app payment system, has faced substantial criticism from app developers and has drawn the attention of antitrust regulators in various countries.

One of the main points of contention is that Apple’s charges are deemed excessive and unjustifiable due to the company’s near-monopoly on app distribution for iPhones and iPads. The lawsuit asserts that the App Store’s dominant position allows Apple to wield disproportionate power over app developers, resulting in what they claim is abusive pricing and unfair practices. The charges allegedly harm not only app developers, who see a significant portion of their revenue eroded but also app buyers, as developers may pass on these costs to consumers.

Apple has previously defended its commission structure, stating that 85% of developers on the App Store are exempt from paying any commission. Additionally, the company argues that the App Store provides European developers with a gateway to access markets and customers in an impressive 175 countries worldwide, thereby facilitating their growth and expansion.

Heading the legal battle is Sean Ennis, a professor at the prestigious Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia, and a former economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Ennis is representing the 1,566 app developers involved in this lawsuit and is receiving legal counsel from the reputable law firm Geradin Partners.

This lawsuit comes amid increasing scrutiny of tech companies’ practices, particularly regarding anticompetitive behaviors. Regulators worldwide have been paying close attention to the practices of major tech companies, and Apple’s App Store fees have not escaped their radar. The outcome of this lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for Apple’s business model and potentially influence the app marketplace ecosystem as a whole.

the class action lawsuit against Apple brought by over 1,500 app developers in the UK seeks £785 million in damages over the company’s App Store fees. The case revolves around the alleged excessive charges and anti-competitive practices that app developers claim have been enforced due to Apple’s dominant position in the app distribution market. As this legal battle unfolds, it could have significant ramifications for both app developers and Apple’s App Store policies, as well as potentially prompting a further examination of tech giants’ practices by antitrust regulators worldwide.


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