US Supreme Court rules Apple must face an antitrust proceedings of App Store

13 May 2019

The US Supreme Court has ruled in case Apple v. Pepper, 17-204 that the consumers may proceed with antitrust claims against Apple for forcing them to buy apps exclusively from Apple, therefore monopolising the retail market for apps. Apple currently buys apps from developers and adds a 30% markup. According to the US Supreme Court opinion, Apple has to amend its terms of service so the consumers pay the price directly to the developers and the developers remit the markup to Apple. If the antitrust case of the consumers wins on merit, this would affect many other platforms functioning on similar principle, such as Google Play and Amazon, as well as the liability of intermediaries.

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Jurisdiction is the authority of the court and state organs to decide on legal cases. The relationship between jurisdiction and the Internet has been ambiguous, since jurisdiction rests predominantly on the geographical division of the globe into national territories. Each state has the sovereign right to exercise jurisdiction over its territory.

Intermediaries play a vital role in ensuring Internet functionality. In several Internet governance areas, such as copyright infringement and spam, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are considered key online intermediaries. In other areas, such as defamation and the so-called right to be forgotten, the responsibility extends to hosts of online content and search engines.

 

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