After being pulled from Apple’s Mac App Store in 2019, the BlueMail app returned to the store in February of this year. But it’s only now Blix’s legal actions against Apple are coming to an end.
The trouble started when Apple, after reviewing the BlueMail app for Mac, decided to pull the app over “security reasons”. However, the Volach brothers believed the timing was suspect. According to the developers, Apple “stole” their anonymous sign-in feature to build “Sign in with Apple”, and, as a result, took Apple to court for antitrust concerns.
Apple pulled BlueMail from the Mac App Store in June of 2019. It wasn’t until February of 2020, after Blix made changes to adapt to the App Store’s rules, that Apple reintroduced the app into the digital storefront.
Now, just before 2020 bows out, U.S. District Court Judge Leonard P. Stark of the District of Delaware has dismissed the antitrust case against Apple (via Bloomberg). According to the ruling decision, Blix was unable to put forth direct, or indirect, evidence that Apple had acted with anticompetitive behavior or flexed any monopolistic power.
Per the ruling:
Allegations that Apple has the power to restrict competition aren’t equivalent to allegations that the company actually did restrict competitors’ output”, Judge Stark wrote. “Even if Blix had plausibly alleged that Apple held a monopoly over apps, its failure to allege anticompetitive conduct provides an independent reason to dismiss its claims.
Interestingly, the developers’ claims of anticompetitive behavior on Apple’s part fell through because BlueMail has found success outside of Apple’s Mac App Store. Blix demonstrated in the court proceedings that the desktop email app is successful enough on other platforms already, and that BlueMail was available to purchase on the market outside of the Mac App Store for five years before making it into Apple’s storefront.
Judge Stark also dismissed Blix’s claims of patent infringement as well. That relates directly to the Sign in with Apple part, with the judge ruling in Apple’s favor again.
Looks like this one’s over and done with, but Apple’s certainly not out of the woods quite yet. The company has been facing a lot of backlash over the last few months, and many companies, including Epic Games and Spotify, have taken exemption to Apple’s practices in the market.
Still, this is a win for Apple and its App Store.