San Francisco: Tech giant Apple is facing an antitrust lawsuit over its App Store fees that is filed by a group of French iOS app developers.
The plaintiffs are accusing Apple of anti-competitive practices in allowing only one App Store for iOS devices, which gives it a monopoly in iOS app distribution and the ability to force developers to pay high commissions on in-app purchases, reports TechCrunch.
The complaint argues that these commissions, on top of Apple’s $99 annual developer programme fees, cut into developers’ earnings and stifle innovation — and yet developers are not permitted to offer alternative payment methods per Apple’s App Store rules, nor can they distribute their apps to iOS users outside of the App Store, despite Apple allowing this on Mac computers.
The case is now one of several antitrust legal battles Apple faces, including the high-profile lawsuit with Fortnite maker Epic Games, which is under appeal and another by alternative app store Cydia, the report said.
The iOS developers in the suit include France-based developers Societe du Figaro, the developer of the Figaro news app; L’Equipe 24/24, the developer of L’Equipe sports news and streaming app; and le GESTE, a French association comprised of France-based publishers of online content and services, including iOS app developers.
The group is being represented by the US-based Hagens Berman law firm, which last year won a $100 million settlement against Apple over App Store policies and recently filed a $1 billion case against Apple over antitrust issues with Apple Pay.
Hagens Berman’s managing partner Steve Berman has a history of winning against the tech giants, having secured a $560 million settlement against Apple regarding e-book price-fixing and a $90 million settlement on behalf of Android developers.