Apple Faces a $1 Billion UK Lawsuit Over App Store Fees

Tech giant Apple (AAPL) faces a £785 million (approximately $1 billion) class action lawsuit brought by more than 1,500 app developers in the U.K. for the fees it charges on its iOS App Store.

The suit accuses Apple of abusing its dominant position by charging app makers 15% to 30% for the sales made through its iOS App Store. The suit argues consumers are being hurt by the fees because that amount instead could have been spent by developers to improve the products they have on the App Store.2

A U.S. congressional report in July 2022 argued Apple leverages control of the iOS and App Store to squash competition by creating barriers for rivals, and that its monopoly power harmed competition, and reduced choices and increased prices for consumers.3

However, Apple contends more than 90% of the billings and sales accrue solely to developers and businesses without any commission being paid to the iPhone maker.4

Apple says it helps small developers, which comprise more than 90% of all developers on its App Store, reach more customers globally, outpacing larger developers.5

Sean Ennis, a professor of competition policy at the University of East Anglia and a former economist at the OECD, is bringing the suit on behalf of 1,566 U.K. app developers at the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The suit is being financed by the U.K. litigation funder Harbour.2

Damien Geradin, a partner at law firm Geradin Partners that is supporting Enis, told TechCrunch that Apple’s fees are not applied uniformly. Only 16% of apps are subjected to it, based on Apple’s rules on charging commission, which means many apps can slip under the radar at the cost to others. He also pointed to the annual $99 program fee that developers have to pay Apple, arguing that the iPhone maker monetizes its store in various ways

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