Judge tosses App Store monopoly suit

iPad App Store (search 001)

Back in 2011, a suit was leveled against Apple of California, alleging its tight control of the App Store and the way it handles third-party software distribution for the iPhone constitutes a monopoly. The plaintiffs charged consumers can only get apps only from the App Store due to Apple’s decision to shut out thrid-party app stores on its platform.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, dismissed the suit over a procedural blunder. The plaintiffs, the ruling explains, have failed to prove they’ve been “deprived of lower cost alternatives” or “paid higher prices for Apple-approved applications”, or had their iPhones “disabled or destroyed”

Furthermore, each named plaintiff at a minimum should have actually bought the applications at issue in the case in order to prove they’ve “suffered an injury-in-fact based on Apple’s alleged conduct”.

According to Bloomberg, the plaintiffs can simply amend and refile their complaint.

Alexander Schmidt, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, asserted he’ll have “no difficulty” refiling the case to meet the judge’s requirements.

We can add the extra detail very easily to advance the claim Apple has cornered the distribution market for software for the iPhone.

Not only did the suit allege Apple was wrong to keep malware and rogue apps at bay by controlling which applications are allowed into the App Store, it also took issue at the company’s standard 30 percent cut of proceeds.

The policy, the plaintiffs argued, has led to jacked up prices while excluding competitors from the iPhone “aftermarket” of applications. “Can a consumer go somewhere else to buy Angry Birds for the iPhone?”, Schmidt wrote in the complaint. “If the answer is no, then Apple is a monopolist”.

Apple back in March filed a motion to dismiss the case, make clear developers themselves, not Apple, set prices for their own apps carried on the App Store.

Furthermore, Apple reminded the court no law exists prohibiting resellers from charging a percentage of proceeds for distribution as “there’s nothing illegal about creating a system that is closed in a sense”.