UK app developers file class action lawsuit against Apple for ‘unfair’ app store fees

Apple is the target of an US$1 billion class action lawsuit brought by more than 1,500 app developers in the UK over the tech giant’s App Store fees, reports Reuters.

The lawsuit claims that Apple’s 15% to 30% fees for its app stores’ in-app payment system is unfair. The company claims that 85% of App Store developers don’t pay any commission. Apple also says that it helps European developers to access in markets and customers in 175 countries through its app store. 

The UK lawsuit at the Competition Appeal Tribunal is being brought by Sean Ennis, a professor at the Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia and a former economist at the OECD, on behalf of 1,566 app developers.

“Apple’s charges to app developers are excessive, and only possible due to its monopoly on the distribution of apps onto iPhones and iPads,” Ennis said in a statement to Reuters. “The charges are unfair in their own right, and constitute abusive pricing. They harm app developers and also app buyers.”

Complains over app store fees are nothing new. In 2020, the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF), an alliance of European and international app developers, asked for regulators to investigate and change Apple App Store policies.

The CAF says it strives to ensure that the forthcoming EU regulation on gatekeeper platforms reflects the 10 “App Store Principles,” a series of guiding rules to establish a fair standard of conduct across the app ecosystem. These principles are designed to ensure that every app developer, regardless of size or the nature of its business, is entitled to a level playing field and fair treatment by the app stores and the platform owners who operate them according to Damien Geradin, the Coalition’s outside counsel.

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