Apple is sued by French app developers over App Store charges


An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Aug 1 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) was sued on Monday by French app developers who accused the iPhone maker of breaking U.S. antitrust law by overcharging them to use its app store.

Plaintiffs in the proposed class action include Société du Figaro, which develops the Figaro news app; L’Équipe 24/24, which develops the sports news and streaming app L’Équipe, and Le Geste, an association of French content providers.

According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Oakland, California, Apple abused its monopoly power over the distribution of apps on iOS-based mobile devices by mandating only one app store for those devices. .

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Plaintiffs said it allowed the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to charge “supercompetitive” commissions of 30% for 14 years, as well as $99 annual fees to app developers, while stifling the innovation and consumer choice.

“There is no valid business necessity or pro-competitive justification for Apple’s conduct,” the complaint states. “Instead, Apple’s actions are designed to destroy competition.”

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Monday’s complaint seeks an injunction against further anticompetitive conduct, as well as treble damages for violations of federal antitrust law and California state laws.

The plaintiffs are represented by the American law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and the Parisian company Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi.

Monday’s lawsuit resembles a previous Hagens Berman v. Apple case, which last August resulted in a $100 million settlement for small iOS developers who called Apple’s commissions excessive. Read more

In June, the company reached a $90 million settlement with Google Alphabet Inc over its app store’s treatment of developers. Read more

The case is Société du Figaro et al v Apple Inc, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 22-04437.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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