Apple is being sued for $1 billion by the UK’s antitrust agency over app store fees

According to a recent report by TechCrunch, more than 1,500 UK developers have joined a class action lawsuit against the Cupertino-based tech firm Apple. The company is a target of £785 million ($1 billion) over its App Store fees.

The details show that the company has misused its dominant position. Apple was charging a fee of 15 to 30 percent on in-app sales in the App Store. Well, it is a measure that has received criticism in other regions from antitrust regulators. The lawsuit complies that the consumer base of the UK is lagging behind since developers don’t get the opportunity to innovate the apps given the shortage of money that could be spent on the app’s research and development.

Sean Ennis, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia’s Centre for Competition Policy, filed the action on behalf of app developers. In a statement, Ennis declares that the company charges app developers a lot. It is because Apple holds a dominant position given the distribution of apps on iPhones and iPads. Ennis referred to the charges imposed by Apple as unfair. He described the company’s charging policy as abusive for developers as well as app buyers. According to Ennis, the company is harming app developers and consumers.  

It is an opt-out class action type of lawsuit. In order to be eligible for any potential rewards, which would be determined based on their app business, UK-based developers do not need to register. Well, this is not the first time that Apple has faced such lawsuits. In the course of the previous few years, the company has faced several lawsuits over its anticompetitive practices in several countries like Germany, the US, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, and others.

Several different complaints against the app store have been filed. For this reason, the company has introduced a few changes to the App Store in some regions like in South Korea developers can now use an alternative payment system.

In addition, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which began its inquiry in March 2021, is looking into Apple’s App Store terms and conditions. Apple is preparing for the Digital Markets Act in the European Union, which calls for it to enable sideloading or alternative app stores for iPhone app downloads in iOS 17.

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