The Supreme Court ruled on Monday 5-4 that iPhone users can now sue Apple.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) for monopolizing the App Store. Apple shares were also pressured by the broad market, which caused shares to slip by 5.5%.
iPhone users have long argued that Apple’s 30% commission on sales through the App Store is unfair use of monopoly power that results in inflated prices for consumers.
Apple argued that only app developers, and not users, should be able to file a lawsuit regarding the matter. But the Supreme Court, led by Justice Brett Kavanaugh rejected Apple’s claim.
Kavanaugh argued that when “retailers engage in unlawful anticompetitive conduct that harms consumers,” the consumer is eligible to hold the business itself accountable.
“Apple’s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander Apple out of this and similar lawsuits,” Kavanaugh continued.
However, the Supreme Court’s ruling does not suggest that Apple violated antitrust laws, but are giving the consumer the power to proceed with legal actions against the Company for potentially monopolizing its App Store.
The legal matter against Apple has dragged on for nearly a decade now. The decision by the Supreme Court could ultimately affect other tech giants who dabble in the same marketplace as Apple.
For instance, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Alphabet’s Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) can face the same decision similar to Apple. Facebook, Amazon, and Google dominate in their respective industries. The three offer services such as advertising, marketing, and retail to many businesses.
“It definitely should make tech companies wonder how the antitrust laws will be applied going forward in an online platform environment,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge and a former Justice Department antitrust official.