The Coalition for App Fairness is fighting against the publication of documents required by Apple. The iPhone company wants to examine the structure and communication of the association, she said in a petition from the coalition to a US court. Dissatisfied app providers, including large companies like Epic Games, dating app provider Match Group and Spotify, as well as midsize and smaller app providers, have joined forces in of the Coalition for App Fairness with specifications from the Apple App Store.
Internal communication documents
With its orders, Apple finally wants “to have an overview of the activities of political opponents”, writes the association of developers. (Aktenzeichen 1: 21-mc-00098-JDB, United States District Court for the District of Columbia). The required documents include internal member communication, the association’s exchange with regulatory authorities in various countries, and documents relating to “Project Liberty” – Epic’s anti-app store campaign.
Apple has secured the orders in two other antitrust proceedings already underway against the iPhone group, a lawsuit brought by App Store customers and a lawsuit brought by App Store developers. The Coalition for App Fairness itself is not among the complainants, the two complaints were filed long before the association was created. Apple lawyers argue that the orders should clarify whether there is bias among potential witnesses.
Internal communication is protected by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution and Apple cannot prove that the documents are of critical importance to ongoing antitrust lawsuits, according to the association. Disclosure of the documents would undermine the group’s efforts. The Coalition for App Fairness refers to statements by several developers who point out that they fear retaliation from Apple if internal communications are forced to pass the baton to the iPhone maker.
Attack on app stores
Apple and Google’s app stores are increasingly under attack from dissatisfied developers and regulators. Particularly strict guidelines for in-app purchases, the mandatory use of the platform operator’s payment interface and the associated commission of up to 30% cause inconvenience. Individual app providers like Epic Games are also calling for the iPhone to be opened up to third-party app stores – this is now also a long-term goal for the EU Competition Commissioner. Apple warns that sideloading will lead to a deluge of malware in iOS.
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