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Judge likely to deny App Store sales figure request from antitrust class action suit filers

Apple's App Store

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The US Magistrate Judge considering a proposed class action lawsuit surrounding the Apple App Store has told lawyers their request for international sales data does not appear relevant.

As Apple faces mounting litigation over the App Store, include its dispute with Epic Games, a further proposed class action suit is being considered. US Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixon has heard arguments by lawyers that Apple should be required to provide global revenues and sales data in support of the filers' claims.

However, according to Law360, the judge appeared skeptical during the Zoom meeting held on January 8. "I don't know if that has anything to do with the antitrust issues pleaded," he said.

The brief hearing was to do with a proposed class of customers in a case that would accuse Apple of monopolizing app distribution. Representing the customers, Rachele R. Byrd of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, said that Apple should be required to provide total global revenues and sales data by month for each app or in-app purchase option.

Reportedly, Judge Hixon noted that the accusation of antitrust is concerned with an alleged lack of competitive alternatives. He said that global sales data therefore does not appear to be relevant.

Byrd's argument is that customers need the data to get a "complete picture" of what Apple charges. She maintains that this information is needed despite a separate developers' case not requesting it, because the customer case has different experts and is concerned with different markets.

Representing Apple, Jay Srinivasan of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, said in the hearing that the sales data represents only a "small sliver of information." He argued that it would not be useful for these customers, and also that compiling it would take weeks.

Srinivasan says that the time it would take for Apple to produce the requested data would take until well after a forthcoming deadline for the class action suit.

Judge Hixon is currently considering the arguments.

Separately, the "Fortnite" App Store dispute is heading for trial start in May 2021. Apple and Epic Games have been in hearings concerning information requests, document custodians, and who will testify in the case.