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Apple will face a full lawsuit in the UK for breaching competition rules by overcharging App Store users through its commission rate.
The London-based Competition Appeal Tribunal has denied an attempt by Apple to limit or dismiss a class action lawsuit filed in 2021. Dr Rachael Kent, digital economics expert and lecturer, is leading the action .
“I commend the Competition Appeal Tribunal for this clear and well-considered decision,” she said. A claim of this magnitude will always be strongly defended. The anti-competitive practices we allege against Apple go to the heart of Apple’s business strategy, and with its nearly limitless resources, this will always make it an uphill battle.”
According to Dr. Kent’s complaint, Apple’s 30% commission on app and app purchases is unfair. Additionally, she argues that Apple’s cut forced developers to raise prices and charge consumers.
At a hearing in May, Apple tried to challenge Kent’s claim that the 30% cut is unfair and excessive on the grounds that it had applied the wrong legal test. The court, however, rejected all of Apple’s arguments.
“We do not accept Apple’s argument that the pleadings disclose a legal error or flawed approach, either with respect to the correct legal test for abuse or consideration of value economy in this exercise,” said Tribunal President Ben Tidswell.
This isn’t the first time Apple has come under fire for cutting App Store purchases by 30%. The company’s commission rate, which was standard in most app stores, has drawn opposition from lawmakers, developers and others. Most famously, Epic Games launched a large-scale campaign and lawsuit against Apple because of it.
Apple has since offered alternative commission rates, including a reduced 15% commission for developers making less than $1 million in App Store sales.