Apple takes a hit over App Store's high commission fees in US Supreme Court Ruling

Josh Peachey's picture

Apple has suffered a defeat in the form of a 5-4 ruling at the US Supreme Court, meaning that a group of iPhone users will now be allowed to file an antitrust lawsuit against the App Store.

In an attempt to have the case dismissed, Apple said that consumers were buying their apps from developers, rather than from the Apple store. 

The iPhone owners allege that the Apple Tax - the 30 per cent commission that the company takes on App Store sales - affects users and is an 'unfair use of Apple's monopoly power' according to TechCrunch. 

There are currently around two million apps from third-party developers sold on the Apple App Store, and Apple takes 30% commission on every sale. This led the court to conclude that Apple deals with app developers. 

The ruling supports the move by iPhone owners to file a lawsuit against the commissions, in part because it forces users to pay higher prices than if the environment was more competitive.  

The court also supported the iPhone owners case because if they had chosen to protect Apple, the ruling could have prevented consumers from suing monopolistic retailers who took commissions on sales.

There are some large app developers, such as Spotify and Netflix, who have stopped selling subscriptions on the iOS platform. The standard pricing for Spotify Premium is £9.99 but if purchased through the app store, it cost £12.99.