U.S. Supreme Court Votes Against Apple Inc. in Antitrust Case
Today May 13, 2019 the United States Supreme Court handed down a verdict of 5-4 voting in favor of the respondent, Robert Pepper et al., in the Supreme Court Case Apple Inc. Vs. Pepper (1). The case centered around Apple’s app store, stating “that Apple has monopolized the retail market for the sale of apps and has unlawfully used its monopolistic power to charge consumers higher-than competitive prices” (1). “To sell an app in the App Store, app developers must pay Apple a $99 annual membership fee… and [additionally must pay Apple] 30 percent of the sales price, no matter what the sales price might be” (1). Apple argued “that the consumer (Pepper)… in this case may not sue Apple because they supposedly were not “direct purchasers” from Apple”, basing their legal precedent on the previous case Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, which established “indirect purchasers” of a company’s good or services cannot sue for antitrust violations of that company (1). In the Supreme Court’s decision today, they disagreed with Apple’s defense declaring that consumers (Pepper) “purchase apps directly from Apple and therefore are direct purchasers” (1). However, the decision, written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, went on to state the decision did not “assess the merits of [Pepper’s] antitrust claims against Apple” (1). The case will now return to the lower courts for trial.