US: Apple asks SCOTUS to dismiss antitrust suit over app commissions

Apple has asked the US Supreme Court to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit which accuses Apple of monopolizing the app market so that it can charge excessive commissions, reported CNBC.

The lawsuit dates back to 2011, where it was first filed in a California federal court by Robert Pepper and other iPhone buyers. It alleges that because iOS apps can only be sold through the App Store, Apple has created a monopoly and is able to use that power to charge excessive commissions. Though developers set the prices of their apps, Apple collects the payments from iPhone users, charging developers a 30 % commission on each purchase. Developers earned more than $20 billion in 2016, according to Apple.

The company sought to have the antitrust claims dismissed, saying the plaintiffs did not have the needed legal standing to bring the lawsuit, reported CNBC. The case hinges on a 1977 US Supreme Court decision that limited damages for anti-competitive conduct to those directly overcharged rather than indirect victims who paid an overcharge passed on by others.

The San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 revived the litigation, saying Apple was a distributor that sold iPhone apps directly to consumers and must face the antitrust claims.

The case could expand the threat of antitrust damages against companies in the rapidly growing field of electronic commerce,which generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually in US retail sales.

Full Content: CNBC

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