French publishers sue Apple in California over App Store rules in latest case to target ‘excessive’ fees and commission charges
Software developers based in France have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over its App Store policies in the latest of numerous legal actions to hit the iPhone maker over its iOS cash cow, which accounts for roughly half of its revenues.
The lawsuit comes shortly after an Oakland, California Federal judge in June approved a $100 million (£82m) settlement for a similar class action lawsuit brought by US software developers that accused the company of maintaining its App Store dominance partly by preventing developers from “steering” their customers toward payment methods other than Apple’s own in-app payment system.
The developers in the new lawsuit, like the previous one, are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, along with Paris-based Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi.
The case was filed the case in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, near Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.
The class action’s named plaintiffs include news publishers Société du Figaro and L’Équipe 24/24 and le GESTE, an asociation of France-based online publishers.
“Apple’s policies and restrictions pose critical issues to all iOS developers using the App Store,” said Masmi-Dazi. “To a global problem, there shall be a global solution.”
The lawsuit claims that Apple has maintained a “monopoly in the global market” with “no valid business necessity or pro-competitive justification”.
It seeks to force Apple to end its alleged monopoly, allow competition in the distribution of iOS apps and related products, remove pricing mandates and reimburse developers for alleged overcharges.
App store fees
The case, Société du Figaro et al v Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 22-04437, seeks an injunction against further anticompetitive conduct plus triple damages for violating federal antitrust law and California state laws.
The previous $100m settlement reached in August 2021 – which includes $26m in legal fees and $3.5m in court costs – was filed on behalf of smaller iOS developers that said Apple’s commission charges were excessive.
In June 2022 Hagens Berman reached a $90m settlement with Google over its own app store policies.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.