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Supreme Court asks Trump administration for thoughts on App Store pricing lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court is asking the Trump administration for opinions on whether it should hear Apple's attempt to dismiss a years-long class-action lawsuit, which claims the company has inflated App Store prices by charging developers a 30 percent commission and blocking sales elsewhere.

The company is hoping to overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that allowed the suit to proceed and rejected Apple's position that only developers —not consumers —have the legal standing to file such an action, Reuters said. The Supreme Court's advice will come by way of the Justice Department.

The case dates back to 2011, and was launched in California by several iPhone buyers who said Apple is monopolizing the sales of apps. Whereas people using macOS, Windows, or Android can get apps outside of official stores, Apple has completely blocked third-party options on iOS, which might otherwise spur price competition.

The 9th Circuit sided with the plaintiffs' argument that while developers are being charged the commission, it's the public that's paying for any inflated prices.

A number of developers have admitted to charging higher prices to compensate for Apple's commission. One of the better-known examples is Spotify, which until recently was charging more for in-app subscriptions than those bought elsewhere. The music service ultimately decided to scrap in-app purchases entirely rather than maintain the discrepancy.