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

Lawmakers demand answers from World Bank on Xinjiang loan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the World Bank about its continued operation of a $50 million loan program in Xinjiang, following Axios reporting on the loans.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is currently waging a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in northwest China. The lawmakers contend that the recipients of the loans may be complicit in that repression.

Obama: Americans could be "collateral damage" in Trump's war on mail-in voting

Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama tweeted Friday that everyday Americans could become "collateral damage" if President Trump continues to attempt to slash funding for the U.S. Postal Service as part of his campaign against mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Trump linked his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud on Thursday to the current impasse in coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

Elon Musk is channeling Henry Ford in auto manufacturing

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has spent more than a decade trying to disrupt the traditional auto industry, is sounding more and more like the man most closely associated with it: Henry Ford.

Why it matters: In his quest to build affordable electric cars for the masses, Musk is starting to embrace many of the ideas pioneered by Ford's founder — things like vertical supply chains and an obsession with manufacturing efficiency. A century ago that approach helped to popularize the American automobile by lowering the cost of the Model T.