A new class-action lawsuit accuses Apple of monopolizing the iOS mobile gaming market and exhibiting anti-competitive behavior to maintain that status,media Apple Insider reported. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Apple “illegally competed” through “persistent, widespread and secret” misconduct.
The plaintiff in the case, John Pistacchio, a New Jersey man, claimed that he paid “super-competitive prices” for apple stores because of the company’s alleged anti-competitive behavior.
More specifically, the lawsuit shows that Apple exerts a monopoly on the iOS App Store by requiring developers to follow its app guidelines and banning third-party app stores. It added that developers and app publishers were “unable to restrain” Apple’s behavior by refusing to release apps on iOS.
“No developer or group of developers is strong enough to attract enough iOS users to leave iOS, so that it would be profitable to develop applications only for other platforms,” the lawsuit reads. Companies such as Microsoft, Facebook and Google fall into this category, the lawsuit states.
The complaint also claims that Apple has shown anti-competitive behavior in order to maintain its monopoly on iOS subscription gaming services. These alleged anti-competitive practices include imposing technical restrictions to prevent users from playing services other than Apple Arcade, imposing contractual restrictions on developers, abusing their application censorship guidelines to protect their monopoly, and denying cloud-based subscription platforms.
It cites several examples of alleged anti-competitive behavior, such as Apple’s ban on cloud gaming apps such as Xbox Game Pass and unfair treatment of gaming services such as Facebook Gaming.
In addition, the lawsuit says Apple blocked competing gaming services not because they violated its app censorship guidelines, but because they were rivals to Apple Arcade. (In fact, Apple Arcade complies with all of Apple’s own guidelines.)
“Apple has repeatedly abused its monopoly power to prevent competition with Apple Arcade, using its dual role as both a gatekeeper and a market participant. Apple’s anti-competitive behavior excludes competition in the iOS subscription mobile gaming market, affecting much of the market’s commercial activity and hurting consumers. The lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit urges a jury trial and seeks compensatory and punitive damages, injunction relief against plaintiffs and the collective, statutory interest and fines, and legal costs.
In addition, it asked the court to establish a “presumpted trust from which Apple’s unseeded wealth should be forfeited and from which plaintiffs and collective members could be compensated”.