Apple Moves To Dismiss Lawsuit Over UK Developer Fees

Apple Store in Mumbai. Image credit: Apple

Apple argues developer lawsuit ‘unsustainable’, as it faces multiple UK cases targeting App Store fees, battery slowdown

Apple on Tuesday asked a London tribunal to dismiss a £785m lawsuit on behalf of UK developers who say its App Store commissions of up to 30 percent violate competition law.

The company said developers, even if based in the UK, cannot make a claim under UK law unless they were charged based on purchases through the UK App Store, excluding App Store versions in the US and elsewhere.

This would apply to a very small minority of claimants, Apple lawyer Daniel Piccinin said, calling the claim “unsustainable”, according to a Reuters report.

The company says 85 percent of developers pay no commission at all due to their small income.

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Image credit: Apple

Developer fees

The case is one of several mass lawsuits faced by Apple in the UK and one of a number worldwide that target the app store fees of Apple and Google, which control app sales on the dominant iOS and Android platforms.

Sean Ennis, a competition law professor and former economist at the OECD, is leading the case, which was brought before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) last year.

Ennis’ lawyer Paul Stanley refuted Apple’s argument, saying Apple “has come to the UK to offer services to UK businesses on a UK market and has abused its position by overcharging them”.

He argued this means UK law applies to the entire case and that it should be allowed to continue.

Market dominance

A separate mass lawsuit  brought by around 20 million UK iPhone and iPad users, and worth about £1.5bn, was approved to go ahead last year.

A third UK case over Apple’s 2017 move to slow down older iPhone models to prevent battery issues was launched in 2022.

In November Apple lost a bid to block that case, which seeks £1.6bn in compensation.

Apple began making payments earlier this month under a 2020 settlement for a similar US class-action lawsuit, under which it agreed to pay up to $500m (£394m), without admitting wrongdoing.