Supreme Court to hear Apple's challenge to class-action lawsuit over iPhone apps

Supreme Court to hear Apple's challenge to class-action lawsuit over iPhone apps
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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear Apple's challenge to a class-action lawsuit brought by consumers who alleged the company has a monopoly on how apps can be purchased for its devices.

Consumers allege the tech company illegally monopolized the distribution of iPhone apps and charged app developers high commissions that ultimately inflated the prices for consumers.


On Monday, the court said it would take up Apple's claim that only app developers and not consumers have legal ground to bring such an antitrust suit. 

Apple does not allow app developers to distribute their software outside of the App Store. The company takes 30 percent of fees for any paid apps then passes on the remaining 70 percent to the developer.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that only “the overcharged direct purchaser, and not others in the chain of manufacture or distribution” have the right to bring antitrust cases. The class-action plaintiffs, in this case, argue that they're the direct purchasers since they pay Apple directly for the apps, which then passes on their payments to the developers. 

Apple countered that it does not sell apps, but essentially rents out space in its app store to developers. 

In January of last year the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the consumers, ruling that Apple was a distributor that sold apps directly to its users and that they could proceed with their lawsuit against the tech giant.

Neither Apple nor an attorney for the plaintiffs responded when asked to comment on the court's decision Monday.

Updated at 10:52 a.m.