Supreme Court rules antitrust lawsuit against Apple can move forward

Apple lost its Supreme Court cases against Pepper.                  SEAN GALLUP  Getty Images

Apple's App Store rules are about to come under a lot more scrutiny and that could be bad news for the company. The ruling came on a day when Apple shares already were trading lower because of concerns over a full-blown U.S. The iPhone giant said it only acted as the intermediary, providing a storefront where consumers found and purchased the apps they later installed on their phones. The App Store's success - it is predicted revenue of US$50 billion this year - has been partly down to the wide array of third-party apps available to download to the company's mobile devices.

The dispute hinged in part on how the justices would apply a 1977 Supreme Court precedent. This means that, if you're so inclined, you could bring suit against Apple for overcharging you. The developers are charged a $99 membership fee, and Apple charges them a 30% commission on the sale of every app.

In a 5-4 decision, which saw controversial Justice Brett Kavanaugh join his liberal counterparts on the bench, the Court disagreed with Apple's assertion that App Store shoppers weren't its direct customers.

Dissenting from the decision, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, said that the decision is "not how antitrust law is supposed to work" because it gives a green light to the exact type of case that the court has previously prohibited. The two Trump appointees are seen here at the Capitol in February. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has argued that big firms such as Facebook, Google and Apple should be broken up through antitrust enforcement.

But in the end, if Apple is forced to allow users to side load or install apps on their own without going through the App Store, it will probably be a good thing for the average consumer.

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A class action lawsuit against Apple alleging that the company inflates the cost of iPhone apps cleared a legal hurdle yesterday.

And Apple faces charges in Europe of abusing its platform by discriminating against rival apps, including one complaint from streaming music service Spotify.

The court's other four conservatives, on the other hand, bought Apple's argument that what ultimately mattered was the fact that app developers-not Apple-determined app prices.

It's unclear when the lawsuit will go to trial, if at all. It also claimed that allowing the case to proceed could pose a threat to the burgeoning e-commerce segment of the United States economy. Besides the new chat feature, the update makes it easier to schedule a reservation for the Genius Bar at your nearby Apple Store, or at an authorized service provider.

"If a court rules that Apple has an unlawful monopoly, it could require Apple to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars or even change its App Store model", wrote Adi Robertson of The Verge in June. They were supported by 30 state attorneys general, including from Texas, California and NY.

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