Earlier, in March 2022, the same judge refused to certify the class action.However, she changed her decision after the plaintiffs narrowed the proposed class. As per the new proposal, the lawsuit will only include Apple account holders who spent at least $10 or more on apps or in-app purchases.
While Judge Rogers expressed concern that the class could still include millions unaffected by alleged antitrust violations, she allowed the case to progress. She noted that the number could be reduced and that there is no strict cutoff for denying certification. The ruling also rejected Apple from excluding expert witness testimony from two economists, including Nobel laureate Daniel McFadden.
Their analysis suggested that Apple’s policies have negatively impacted consumers. Lawyers for the consumers who filed the lawsuit celebrated the decision. The report notes that the lawyers believe that the damages can amount to billions of dollars given over a decade of alleged anti-competitive behaviour.
What the lawsuit accuses
The case centres around Apple’s rules requiring iPhone apps to be sold through its proprietary App Store. With this system, Apple also takes a commission on sales and developers are banned from directing users to payment options outside the App Store ecosystem.
The consumers argue this structure allows Apple to charge higher prices for apps and in-app purchases.
Judge Rogers has overseen similar disputes against Apple’s policies. Last year, she ordered Apple to allow more developer flexibility in directing users to alternative payment systems.
The report claims that the previous ruling provided inspiration for the judge’s reconsideration of class action certification. With the lawsuit now cleared to include millions of Apple users, the company faces further legal scrutiny for its control over the App Store.
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