US appeals court rules Apple can be sued for monopolizing app market

By , Jan 13, 2017

iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple over allegations that it has monopolized the mobile app market by not allowing users to purchase them outside the App Store, reports Reuters. The decision comes from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and it revives a long-standing lawsuit regarding Apple’s iPhone app practices.

In 2012, a group of iPhone users filed to sue Apple, saying its App Store exclusivity was anticompetitive. Apple responded to the suit, saying that  users purchase apps from developers, and it merely rents out the space. A lower court sided with the Cupertino company, and threw the case out, but today’s decision reverses the order.

Should the legal challenge succeed, it would set a major precedent. “The obvious solution is to compel Apple to let people shop for applications wherever they want, which would open the market and help lower prices,” says Mark C. Rifkin, an attorney for the group of iPhone users. An alternative would be a cash settlement.

Source: Reuters

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  • Pallav Agarwal

    May I sue my mall for only having one supermarket too? Because that’s so anticompetitive.

    • Anonymouse

      Why aren’t there other supermarkets you can go to that aren’t situated in the mall, but located elsewhere?
      If the mall was owned by Apple they wouldn’t allow you to purchase your groceries anywhere else. That’s how I’m reading this.

    • MacServiceGuy

      what an utterly ridiculous comparison, that’s the logic of a child.

      the difference between what apple is doing and your weak argument is that, in your case, we can go to another mall. it’s not possible to go to another “store” to get apps.

      it’s not even comparable, which shows you don’t even understand the argument

      • I Slay, All Day

        At no time are you compelled to purchase an iPhone. You have Android, Windows, Firefox, etc… therefore you can visit another “mall” that fits your needs. His comparison is valid. Judgement for the plaintiff.

      • Jay

        Apple has to approve of the Apps being installed. Changing where you get the app from is going to be difficult to implement. Something that they wouldn’t even want to do in the phone in the first place. You get their phone and have to play by their rules.

  • :D

    So third party app stores?

    • Natalie

      We already have those. Things like Tutu app that let’s you side load apps into the device. All Apple has done is added an official store, their rules, their prices. If you want to sideload an app that could potentially break your phone then go for it. People just don’t have a clue about anything anymore.

      • :D

        Maybe Apple could approve certain app stores like an Amazon Store, which people can then feel comfortable with using and buying apps from. Apple could put some rules into place but everything else could be down to the approved third party.

        I think that’s what Google does (not certain because I don’t use Android) but I doubt Apple would consider it.

      • Natalie

        The thing is, Android is open source. People can look at the code and develop apps that work at almost system level. iOS is locked and requires Apple’s approval when submitting apps. If Apple wanted to open up to another 3rd party App Store, then they would need to release their source code for them to cross check app code with, thus, making iOS less secure as more people have the source and there’s a higher chance of it being leaked.

      • :D

        Hm okay, fair enough

      • Rowan09

        There are alternative Playstores filled with pirated apps, why would Apple want to do this? There’s a reason developers make so much money on IOS compared to Android. Why would I as a developer want to develop for Android when you can simply down the same app for free? Why don’t people sue Google for being not competitive with YouTube? This lawsuit is foolish as you agree.

      • Natalie

        The main issue is stability. If an app breaks your device, you take it to the shop. Then you find out you installed an app with shady code. That’s your fault. If Apple locks down the place you can buy it from, they only have themselves to blame for the problem with the phone lol.
        It’s also why Android phone manufactures are so bad with customer reviews. because X app does X on X device while Y app does X on E device. Theres so much to troubleshoot. Apple will know what app is corrupt and can remove it so safe the customers from suffering and their support staff from wasting their time on useless cases ^^

      • Rowan09

        Exactly opening up will cause a lot more problems and lawsuits.

      • Rowan09

        No Google only has the Play store in front and the other app stores like Samsung’s is so far in the back no one uses it. The Amazon Store is not a Google thing and Fire OS doesn’t have Google services, it’s just built on Android.

      • MacServiceGuy

        really?
        then side load me something to see my operating system at the root level will ya?

      • Rowan09

        Why do you need this? If I buy a Windows laptop should I sue Microsoft for not making sure I can just install Mac OS? If I buy a PS4 should I sue when Xbox has an exclusive game? This lawsuit is stupid. Why not sue Google for being anti-competitive with YouTube?

      • Natalie

        What is the “really?” referring to… And how is root level access any relevance to side loading except for system level tweaks? I dont understand your comment. Sorry.

  • leart

    well if the alternative it’s the google play (which google its trying hard to transform it like appstore)..

  • Natalie

    F#ck me. This is as stupid as the new privacy law in the UK. Parents called for a tighter blocking of porn websites because they dont want to be a parent and actually monitor what their children log onto so they wanted to block all porn in the UK -_- I’m going to sue squirrels next for occupying spaces in trees.
    This world has really gone to sh!t the last couple of years.

    • Diego Milano

      Totally.

    • MacServiceGuy

      requiring apple to allow you to have more choices is stupid?

      wrong

      what apple is doing is anti competitive and controlling and stifles innovation.

      • Rowan09

        You’re not getting it. IOS would need to be rewritten to support this request because you would now need access to a file system like on Android. Plus you can already download outside the App Store, but this will usher piracy.

      • Natalie

        You have choices. You have these pirated app stores with emulators and whatnot on them. You want them, go get them. No problem. If one of those apps breaks the phone. It’s Apple’s fault right? Of course it is. They built a phone that crashes all the time.

        Wrong

        What Apple is doing is making sure only approved code gets onto your device. If you have unsigned code on your device then it’s your fault. Apple will waste time and money diagnosing an app that they never approved to fix your dumb mistakes!
        Why do you think the Play store has such bad reviews? Because code is only reviewed for viruses, not shoddy code. A good chunk of crashes on Android are shitly coded apps. Thats Googles fault for having such slack guidelines.
        Its no surprise why Apple’s OS has the best feedback for being stable and reliable.

      • jOn Garrett

        Your just some insane fool babbling about nothing.

        There have been, are now and will always be rogue apps in the app store.

        Amazon and Samsung both have app stores independent of Google.

        Developers can set up and run their own app store, they don’t need apple or their policing to do it right either.

      • Natalie

        Not really buddy. Rouge apps get found and removed. Any person in the world can create an app, submit it to the App Store and it pass checks. Then reviews after the fact prove that the app is using dodgy code.
        You can even side load the app onto your own phone. But if that app is the cause of your phone breaking and you take it to Apple. They will not help you because it is not an app that they have approved. Same with Samsung and Amazon. If I install an app from the Amazon store onto my Nexus P, and that breaks my device. Google will NOT help me. I’ll have to contact Amazon for support on their store.
        Both iOS and Google are similar in that code has to be reviewed before being published. Its just that Google’s laws are WAY more lax and Apple’s are very strict and even side loading isn’t possible using any Apple released tools except Xcode.
        If you actually read the entire post you would have understood more since your comment didn’t actually reply to mine at all lol
        But please do actually look up the review processes for App Stores and why unsigned code is potentially bad for a device. You might get yourself in some serious sh!t if you don’t understand the basics of poor code.

      • jOn Garrett

        Rogue apps get removed from any store “when” they’re found, the fact is that they are there and apple isn’t impervious to them.

        A quick search for “apps leak personal information” and you’ll see for years iOS apps leak personal information more often than Android apps. iOS apps also crash more often.

        When you install iOS apps you don’t even know what permissions you give it, with Android you do and can choose to deny them.

      • Natalie

        In iOS you select the permissions when it asks. ” allow access to the camera” “allow access to the address book” if it doesn’t ask, it doesn’t take.
        I’m not making out Apple is perfect either. When they find problems, they fix them, when they find buggy apps they fix them, if an app is reported to crash a lot they remove it.

        And I guess you’re right. iOS apps do crash more often than android. All the reports are for the lasts OS versions. Since the vast majority of iOS is the lastest X.0 build where as the minority of Android users aren’t on the latest OS, there is more collectible data fro, iOS ^^

  • Natalie

    I hate people like this so much.

    • Shaunzy209

      lol I just hate people in general. I have no patience for stupid…lol

  • Diego Milano

    I can’t agree with this— if the competition isn’t good enough, that’s their problem, why sue a company for being successful? Stupid, as many other things in this world.

    • MacServiceGuy

      you don’t understand the problem or the argument.

      the VERY POINT is that apple prevents competition in the first place.

      THERE IS NO competition in the app marketplace for iphones. none. just apple. THAT’S the problem

      • Rowan09

        Where is the competition for Google Playstore? This lawsuit is stupid and you don’t own the OS you own the hardware get your facts straight.

      • jOn Garrett

        Amazon has their own and Samsung has its own.

        AND

        Side loading is as simple as one click. Done.

      • Rowan09

        Who uses Samsung App Store? Regardless why does Apple need to allow other app stores when they make the software and hardware? No other Android manufacture makes the software so they have to follow Googles rules. Why is there no lawsuit about Android being really open source to allow getting rid of all Google services or just choosing which one you would like to use? Amazon is built on Android but it has no Google Services, it’s not the same thing.

      • Dennis Ho

        Of course there is competition. Do you know how many apps are available for the weather?!

      • Diego Milano

        You’re right, but in my opinion there is nothing wrong about this at all. Why? Because if you want your product to perform appropriately, you only want one AppStore there. Besides, you can take your own applications to the AppStore as well, just use their iOS APIs and that’s it.
        If you were Apple, you’d think the same: my device, my rules. If you don’t like it, go to Android or Windows Mobile- simple as that.

  • Brad

    Safari web apps have been here since iOS 1. Anyone can write these. And most apps are just a front end for a website anyway.

    If you want to give unknown code unfettered access to the system (and your data) then just jailbreak, and you can very quickly see what happens when you have nobody acting to maintain trust in your behalf (like in the pirate repos).

    Or get an Android and turn on “allow apps from other sources”.

    Or get a lawyer and sue because you want to run Android N on your iPhone 7.

    • MacServiceGuy

      really… ok. i’ll jailbreak. i’m on ios 10.2. now what?

      • Brad

        Now wait for the 10.2 jailbreak, and hope it is valid for your device. Don’t take the OS upgrade.

  • Rowan09

    This is beyond dumb. What prevents anyone from just pirating paid Apps on the AppStore? This is the main problem with Android. Apple allows people to sideload any app so if you want apps not on the AppStore just sideload it. The same people suing will be the same people suing after downloading a malicious app.

    • Mike

      But you can already sideload apps on iphones…

      • MacServiceGuy

        sure… if you install xcode, learn how to use it then get the original code from the developer (right.. like they’re going to hand out their code)

      • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

        Have you ever sideloaded anything? You don’t compile the app yourself, you need an already compiled IPA. Takes 3 minutes.

    • MacServiceGuy

      you cannot sideload like this, you’re just wrong. you have to use xcode and understand the ridiculous process of sideloading.

      • Rowan09

        Wrong you’ve never installed an app on IOS by sideloading have you? You don’t need to use Xcode which is actually very simple to sideload an app, you can use Cydia Impactor which is as simple as getting an IPA and dragging it into the application. It’s takes about 5 minutes to install any IPA.

      • jOn Garrett

        That’s not something the average iOS user can do.

        Stop some random people on the street and ask them.

      • Rowan09

        Just like the average Android user doesn’t do anything they can’t accomplish on an smartphone.

      • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

        Do these random people know nuclear physics? Of course they don’t. You have to teach them.

        Same with sideloading. You have to tell someone it exist in the first place, and then teach them to use it.

  • Blip dude

    Someone please fill me in, wouldn’t sideloading an app only for work for 7 days until it has to be signed again?? If so, then no sideloading isn’t exactly the best alternative.

    I don’t agree with what’s going on here in this particular circumstance though, suing isn’t always the best approach everything.

    • MacServiceGuy

      but it IS the best approach in this situation

      apple has no right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my phone… that costs close to $1000

      it would be the same as you buying a car and the manufacturer preventing you from changing out your seats or your radio.

      • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

        They do have the right actually. You own the phone. Not the OS on it. Apple simply gives you the license to use it. They own iOS and can modify it however they wish.

  • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

    And? Apple’s decision to confine users to the App Store has led to the creation of the most secure mobile operating system. You don’t see any malware in the app store, ready to exploit an unsuspecting consumer. Aside from the ocasional 0days, the only exposure comes when then consumers themselves knowingly jailbreak. And that only affects their device, not Apple’s ecosystem.

    Keep it this way. App Store for stock users, App Store and Cydia + 3rd party stores which may contain malware to the 5% who jailbreak.

  • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

    3rd party stores already exist. Most of them are for piracy, some are for emulators and some light tweaks.

    I think the problem is that people want 3rd party stores that will have access beyond iOS’s sandbox. Basically, Android. Which is ridiculously stupid. These idiots are asking for malware on their device. No one cares about making your life better, they just want you to download their apps, which will proceed to probe your banking apps, passwords, location, etc.

    • jOn Garrett

      Wow, ridiculously stupid to have the option to buy apps from a source other than Google?

      Android users can buy from Amazon and they can buy from Samsung.

      All you’re doing is fishing for a reason to justify giving apple total control over content on your phone–that is the definition of ridiculously stupid.

      • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

        Like I said, these 3rd party stores do exist. But don’t expect to find much there. And this is not Apple’s fault. You will never see Youtube or Facebook on those stores because Google and Facebook will never put them there. There aren’t enough developers who would want to put their apps on those stores, since everyone uses the App Store.

        These 3rd party stores are good for apps that Apple would never approve, such as emulators.