Apple & Google Hit With Class Actions By Australian Apps

Apple and Google Android users in Australia are suing the California-based technology giants, alleging they used their market power to force app developers to use their payment systems, resulting in higher prices for consumers.

Twin legal actions allege Apple and Google have “a substantial degree of power in the markets for the purchase” of apps via the App Store and Google Play Store respectively, and the in-app purchase of content.

The two tech giants allegedly used their market power in the distribution of apps in Australia to force developers to use Apple and Google payment systems for apps and in-app purchases, then charged commissions of 30 per cent, or in some limited cases 15 per cent.

The class actions on behalf of consumers alleged this conduct breached Australian Consumer Law and resulted in higher prices than if competition was allowed in payment methods for apps and in-app purchases.

It is alleged Apple and Google had superior bargaining positions to app developers; took advantage of that position to breach consumer law; required developers to enter into non-negotiable, standard contracts that the tech giants would unilaterally amend; and the conduct was not necessary to protect their business interests.

The lawsuits include estimates that 55 per cent of the 20.6 million smartphones in Australia are iPhones and 45 percent of people use phones with the Android operating system.

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