May 13, 2019

Supreme Court lets App Store monopoly suit go forward

Apple CEO Tim Cook takes a selfie this weekend. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a group of iPhone users can move forward with their suit against Apple over allegations the company has built an illegal monopoly on the sale of applications for the smartphone.

Why it matters: The ruling opens up the possibility of exposure for digital marketplaces to monopoly concerns brought by the people who buy products on them.

The plaintiffs in the case say that Apple has exercised monopoly power over the App Store, which takes a cut from every purchase of a third-party app, resulting in higher prices.

Flashback: Apple was appealing a lower court ruling that the suit could proceed because people who buy apps on the iPhone App Store are directly purchasing them from Apple.

  • That's a key distinction because legal precedent protects companies from being sued by people who make purchases from them indirectly.
  • Apple argued that while it maintained the store, customers could only sue the developers because they set the price of the apps.

Details: The court ruled 5-4 that the customers had directly purchased the apps from Apple, meaning the lawsuit could go forward.

  • It did not rule on whether or not Apple had monopolized the market for apps.

The bigger picture: Developers have raised competition concerns about the App Store as well.

  • Spotify says that the cut Apple takes from in-app subscriptions disadvantages the company in its battle with Apple's own streaming service, Apple Music.

Go deeper: Read the court's opinion

Go deeper

Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.

Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi, Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - World