Developers have filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing it of monopolizing app distribution and forcing them to sell their iOS apps through the app store.
”[F]rom the outset, Apple attained monopoly power in the U.S. market for iOS app and in-app-product distribution services by slamming the door shut on any and all potential competitors. And it has barred the door ever since,” the lawsuit said.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, iOS developers Donald R. Cameron and Pure Sweat Basketball Inc., said the 30% commission Apple takes on sales of paid apps is “supra-competitive” and that developers have to pay the yearly $99 developer fee to sell in Apple’s marketplace.
The developers additionally allege that because the App Store is the only distribution point for iOS apps, apps get buried with the two million other apps, which suppresses competition and innovation.
“If Apple did not shut out all competition from access to iOS device owners, there would be more stores that could feature more apps, as well as stores that would specialize in certain kinds of apps,” the lawsuit argues.
During an interview with CBS News, Apple CEO Tim Cook denied that the company could be viewed as a monopoly when asked if the company was too big.
“No. I don’t think so. I think that with size, I think scrutiny is fair. I think we should be scrutinized. But if you look at any kind of measure about ‘Is Apple a monopoly or not?’, I don’t think anybody reasonable is going to come to the conclusion that Apple’s a monopoly. Our share is much more modest. We don’t have a dominant position in any market,” he said.
The lawsuit also cited the European Commission Android antitrust ruling, which said that the Google Play Store for Android apps isn’t constrained by Apple’s App store because it’s only available on iOS devices.
“Apple admits that it shuts out all competition from app-distribution to iOS device consumers, ostensibly to protect its device customers from bad apps and malware. But this is overblown pretense,” the lawsuit explains.