Verdict in favor of Apple App Store class action

Verdict in favor of Apple App Store class action

Tens of millions of Apple, opens new tab users may file a class action lawsuit on Friday, according to a federal judge.

The lawsuit accuses the business of monopolizing the iPhone software market by prohibiting purchases made outside of its software Store, which drives up prices.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court first declined to certify a class action in March 2022, but she later changed her mind after limiting the class to Apple account users who had made purchases of $10 or more for apps or in-app content.

While remaining “concerned” that the limited class would include more than 10 million accounts that incurred no injury, or 7.9% of the total, Rogers noted the figure might be reduced and there was no fixed “cutoff” for refusing certification.

Additionally, Apple’s attempt to have testimony regarding potential customer harm it received from two expert witnesses—including Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel McFadden—that it deemed untrustworthy dismissed by the Oakland, California-based judge.

Requests for comment from the Cupertino, California-based company Apple were not immediately answered.

The consumers’ attorney, Mark Rifkin, expressed his “great satisfaction” and eagerness for the next stage of the 12-year-old antitrust litigation. The class, he estimated, suffered “billions of dollars in damages.”

When plaintiffs file lawsuits collectively rather than one-on-one, class actions may provide larger recoveries for less money.

Rogers has also managed the antitrust lawsuit that Epic Games, the makers of the “Fortnite” videogame, filed against Apple.

She did not mandate that Apple let downloading of iPhone applications from sources other than its App Store; instead, she directed Apple to relax limitations on where developers could request payment from users for their apps in September 2021.

A federal appeals court upheld much of that ruling in April 2023, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to get involved last month.

The case is In re Apple iPhone Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 11-06714.

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