A legal claim launched on behalf of millions of UK consumers would have Apple customers compensated for app purchases, to the tune of over one billion pounds.
A legal action filed with the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal alleges that Apple has abused its dominant position with regard to the App Store, by charging a 30% commission on sales.
The organisers of the legal action aim to include 20 million consumers in the collective action (that is, anyone in the UK who has bought an iPhone or iPad since October 2015), and will seek damages up to an eye-watering £1.5 billion from the tech giants.
Under the terms of this CAT, the BBC reports that it works on an opt-out basis, and so should the case win – and it must first be permitted to proceed to trial – anyone affected would be compensated unless they specifically requested not to be (and with hardcore Apple fans, I guess you never know).
The quoted reasons for this action are as follows:
- Apple deliberately shuts out competition
- it mandates use of its own payment-processing system
- this generates “unlawful” levels of profit
- this profit is charged at the expense of the consumer
This is hardly the first time that Apple has been challenged for alleged uncompetitive behaviour, and famously Epic Games, the creator of the enormously popular Fortnite, has also challenged the Cupertino-based brand in court for its high developer fees.
Does this latest action have a chance of success? Apple certainly seem to think not. In a statement, the giant company said: “We believe this lawsuit is meritless and welcome the opportunity to discuss with the court our unwavering commitment to consumers and the many benefits the App Store has delivered to the UK’s innovation economy”.