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Supreme Court rules against Apple in antitrust lawsuit, allows customer to sue over App Store

A major lawsuit against Apple and its App Store will be allowed to move forward, the United States Supreme Court has decided, affirming the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. The lawsuit relates to Apple’s requirement that apps distributed on the iPhone go through the App Store which is controlled by the iPhone.

The question that the Supreme Court had to answer was whether or not a consumer can sue anyone who delivers a product for antitrust damages “even when they seek damages based on prices set by third parties who would be the immediate victims of the alleged offense,” SCOTUSblog explains.

The argument against Apple in part is that Apple’s App Store requirement is monopolistic, enabling the company to impose unfair fees on developers which in turn get passed on to consumers. Apple generally takes a 30% cut of revenue generated through the App Store.

Apple asked that the lawsuit be thrown out last fall when the Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides before ultimately deciding to allow the lawsuit to continue. Apple previously appealed a lower court decision that ruled against the company in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit against Apple was not thrown out and the Supreme Court has decided to allow the lawsuit to move forward. This means the lawsuit will return to the court system and could eventually lead to a decision that forces Apple to change its App Store business model and policies.

We’re still a long way from a final court decision, however, as the Supreme Court only decided on the merits of the lawsuit and not the subject of the argument. Specifically, the court’s decision is that Apple can’t rely on the so-called Illinois Brick’s direct-purchaser rule as a defense to squash the lawsuit.

Read the Supreme Court’s decision which was just released today here with more legal information provided by

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.