Commentary

Court Rules Apple Can Be Sued For Preventing App Sales Outside Of Store

Did Apple monopolize the iPhone app market by preventing users from purchasing apps outside of the App Store?

Well, a federal appeals court has decided to let app purchasers sue Apple over the issue.

The ruling -- issued by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on Thursday -- renews a legal battle that has haunted Apple for years.  Critics have taken issue with the fact that iPhones can only run apps bought from Apple’s App Store -- sentiment echoed in Thursday’s ruling.“Apple prohibits app developers from selling iPhone apps through channels other than the App Store, threatening to cut off sales by any developer who violates this prohibition,” according to the opinion. “Apple discourages iPhone owners from downloading unapproved apps, threatening to void iPhone warranties if they do so.”

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For its part, Apple has long argued that the policy isn’t anticompetitive because it’s doesn’t make or own the apps found within its App Store.

Yet, app makers do share 30% of the revenue with Apple for the privilege of placement in the App Store.

The ruling overturns the decision of a lower court, which previously dismissed the lawsuit.

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