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Has Apple monopolized the app market? US appeals court says it can be sued

A US appeals court has ruled that Apple can be sued over allegations it monopolized the market for iPhone apps, reports Reuters.

The ruling stems from a long-term suit brought against Apple in 2012 by a group of iPhone users. They say the fact you can’t buy iPhone apps outside of the App Store is anticompetitive.

Apple argued back that the practice was fair, noting that the user is buying the app from the developer. Apple is simply charging a cut for renting out the space to them. That was the view taken previously be a lower court. However, a new judge has ruled that users actually purchase the apps from Apple, not the developer, giving users the grounds to sue the Cupertino company.

It’s uncertain what will happen next. Any court proceedings so far related to the topic have only concerned whether users have the right to sue Apple at all.

Reuters report:

But if the challenge ultimately succeeds, “the obvious solution is to compel Apple to let people shop for applications wherever they want, which would open the market and help lower prices,” Mark C. Rifkin, an attorney with Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz representing the group of iPhone users, told Reuters in an interview. “The other alternative is for Apple to pay people damages for the higher than competitive prices they’ve had to pay historically because Apple has utilized its monopoly.”

Apple is yet to comment on the ruling.