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Developers sue Apple over App Store practices

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Two app developers on Tuesday sued Apple Inc over its App Store practices, making claims similar to those in a lawsuit brought by consumers that the US Supreme Court recently allowed to proceed.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Two app developers on Tuesday sued Apple Inc over its App Store practices, making claims similar to those in a lawsuit brought by consumers that the US Supreme Court recently allowed to proceed.

California-based app developer Donald  Cameron and Illinois Pure Sweat Basketball alleged in federal court in San Jose, California that Apple engaged in anticompetitive conduct by only allowing the downloading of iPhone apps through Apple's official App Store. Apple also requires developers to price their apps in tiers ending in 99 cents and takes up to a 30 per cent commission from developers on the sale of apps.

"This practice is analogous to a monopsonist retailer paying artificially low wholesale prices to its suppliers," the developers said in their suit. "In both paradigms a competitive market would yield better post-commission or wholesale prices, and fairer profit, for developers' digital products."

The claims centre on the same Apple practices highlighted in a lawsuit brought by consumers, arguing that Apple's practices have artificially inflated the price of software in the App Store.

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That case presented a legal question of whether consumers had standing to sue Apple because it is developers, not consumers, who have a contract with Apple to be in the App Store and pay fees. But the US Supreme Court last month said the consumer lawsuit could proceed .

Courts have not yet ruled on the merits of either case. The lawsuits are playing out as regulators in the European Union have received a complaint from Apple's streaming music rival Spotify Technology SA.

Spotify has said that Apple's App Store policies make it unduly difficult to compete for paying subscribers against Apple Music. EU officials have said they want to hear from Apple  before taking action on the complaint.

REUTERS