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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on an antitrust case alleging that Apple created a monopoly with its App Store, which makes Apple the exclusive distributor of apps for the iPhone and takes a cut of app sale prices.

Bottom line: If Apple is found guilty of engaging in monopolistic behavior in what it charges developers to carry their apps in its App Store, Apple could be forced to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers purchasing the apps.

At issue: Apple charges developers a $99 annual fee to register their apps with the App store, in addition to a 30% commission on every app sale. A group of consumers that filed the original suit in 2011 claims those fees end up increasing app prices for consumers. A lower court found the developers did not have the legal standing to bring the class action lawsuit, but a judge later overturned that decision.

The bigger picture: Any case over claims that a U.S. tech giant is engaged in monopolistic behavior is bound to get a lot of attention these days. And the suit takes aim at the concept of "walled garden" ecosystems, has could impact just about every large tech company in some way.

Go deeper:

  • Supreme Court will hear Apple's appeal about iPhone App Store antitrust suit (AppleInsider)
  • The Supreme Court will hear an iOS App Store antitrust lawsuit (The Verge)
  • Apple Gets U.S. Supreme Court Review on iPhone App Fee Suit (Bloomberg)

Go deeper

Biden challenges GOP agenda: "What are Republicans for?"

President Biden pushed back against Republican efforts to obstruct his agenda during a press conference Wednesday, asking "What are Republicans for?"

Why it matters: Biden's speech comes as he approaches one year in office, facing low polling numbers and a stalled agenda.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
58 mins ago - Economy & Business

Biden’s face mask campaign requires more imports from China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

American mask manufacturers are getting whiplash, having gone from sleepy sector to mission-critical industry overnight — only to see sales collapse before now being suddenly in demand again.

Why it matters: As the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 rages, health experts now say Americans need legitimate N95 or KN95 masks to best protect themselves — not widely available fakes or less effective cloth masks.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Ukraine tells senators post-invasion sanctions are no help

Zelensky. Photo: Johanna Geron/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told U.S. senators visiting Kyiv this week that waiting to impose sanctions on Russia until after an invasion is of no use to Ukraine, according to four sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: The Senate is currently working on a major sanctions package to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine. Democrats and Republicans are united in their support for Ukraine, but divided over whether it would be more effective to sanction Russia now to signal resolve, or hold up the threat of future sanctions to demonstrate the high costs of an invasion.

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