Apple sued for antitrust laws over App Store monopoly

Apple has been accused of breaching antitrust laws due to its App Store being the only place iOS users can buy apps – a store where the company takes 30% commission of every single sale.

The tech giant has had a case presented to the US Supreme Court by iPhone owners, saying it’s unfair that no one else can profit in the same way as Apple does from app sales.

However, Apple’s argues that it’s down to the individual app developer to sell their app and they keep ownership of their creations. Apple does not own them or sell them, it merely provides the platform for sale and collects payments.

Apple also dragged other companies, including Microsoft and Google into the drama, explaining that they too take a large chunk of commission from app sales when sold through their official app stores. Both Google and Microsoft take a 30% cut on anything sold on their app platforms, however, both companies also allow users and developers to distribute their apps and software through alternative means. Unlike the iOS App Store, the Google Play Store or the Microsoft Store aren’t the only places to purchase apps.

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The court case is part of an older campaign presented to the courts back in 2011 that said Apple had breached antitrust law by holding a monopoly on iOS app sales. Although the case was dropped, it was re-kindled last year and Apple is now appealing against the claims.

“The Services category – which includes App Store commissions, alongside other media, content and services – is now Apple’s second biggest driver of revenue after iPhone sales and has been its fastest-growing source of revenues,” Jack Kent, an analyst at IHS Markit, told the BBC.

“As many of Apple’s device categories mature, services are vitally important as a means of driving incremental revenue after the device sale and also for tying users in to Apple’s ecosystem of devices, apps and services.”

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