Open Markets Institute Files Amicus Brief in Supreme Court in Support of iPhone Owners Challenging Apple’s Retail Monopoly Over iPhone Apps
October 1, 2018
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Open Markets Institute filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of the respondents in Apple, Inc. v. Pepper. In this case, the Court will decide whether iPhone users can sue Apple for damages resulting from the company’s monopolization of the distribution of iPhone apps.
Apple has established its App Store as the monopoly distributor of apps for the iPhone. By creating this bottleneck, Apple exercises power over both iPhone owners and iPhone app developers. It dictates the terms under which iPhone owners purchase apps and iPhone app developers sell their apps. Under long-standing Supreme Court precedent, Open Markets argues that iPhone users are authorized to bring suit against Apple for antitrust damages. The customers in the case are seeking damages for the overcharges on apps due to Apple’s monopoly. In the event that app developers also sue Apple for potential antitrust violations, they would request monetary remedies for a distinct harm–underpayments for their apps because of Apple’s power as a wholesale purchaser of iPhone apps.
“Apple falsely implies its app store is a neutral and open marketplace, but this is simply not the case. Through contractual and technical restrictions, the company compels owners of iPhones and developers of iPhone apps to conduct business solely on its App Store and on its terms. As consumers and direct purchasers of iPhone apps, iPhone users have the right to bring suit against Apple and seek to recover the overcharges on apps resulting from its monopoly,” said Sandeep Vaheesan, Policy Counsel of Open Markets Institute.
The full amicus brief can be found here.
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