Tech giant Apple is facing a $1 billion (£800 million) class action lawsuit brought by more than 1,500 app developers in the UK over what they describe as ‘unfair’ App Store fees.
The app makers have claimed that commissions of 15 to 30 per cent that the company can charge them for using in-app payment systems can amount to ‘abusive pricing’.
Apple has previously said that 85 per cent of developers on the App Store do not pay any commission and that it helps European developers to access markets and customers in 175 countries around the world.
Apple’s services business, which includes the App Store, has seen its revenues rocket in recent years and now hovers around $20 billion per quarter.
The lawsuit at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London is being brought by Sean Ennis, a professor at the Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia on behalf of 1,566 app developers.
He is a former economist at the OECD and is being advised by law firm Geradin Partners.
‘Apple’s charges to app developers are excessive, and only possible due to its monopoly on the distribution of apps onto iPhones and iPads,’ Ennis said in a statement.
‘The charges are unfair in their own right, and constitute abusive pricing. They harm app developers and also app buyers.’
It comes after Spain last week fined Apple $159 million and Amazon over $55 million for colluding to limit the number of sellers of Apple products on Amazon there.