Apple rejecting apps is unfair competition, declare rejected app developers

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A group of developers accusing Apple's App Store of being a monopoly has updated their lawsuit in an attempt to draw an argument from the Epic Games v. Apple case.

The class action lawsuit was first filed in July 2021, and claimed that Apple was engaging in anti-competitive business practices on the App Store. On Friday, the plaintiffs added an addendum to the lawsuit that clarifies "the impact of Epic on our case."

More specifically, the lawsuit addendum uses the fact that Apple was found guilty of violating California Unfair Competition Law with its anti-steering practices. The judge ordered Apple to stop such practices, which included prohibiting developers from advertising third-party payment options within apps.

The updated complaint tries to draw a comparison between anti-steering practices and the removal of apps that don't adhere to Apple's developer guidelines.

"In this case, Apple prevents open, cross-platform information when it disallows valid apps," the complaint reads. "Just like forbidding Epic to communicate with users about their platform, here, Plaintiffs are forbidden by Apple from informing the iOS user about their platform & applications, which were potentially lifesaving in the case of Coronavirus Reporter."

That "open cross-platform information" line comes from U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers' decision in Epic Games v. Apple. In her ruling, Gonzalez Rogers was specifically talking about cross-platform payment information within apps.

However, the lawsuit claims that Apple restricted "cross-platform information" by rejecting the plaintiff's apps. Or, as the lawsuit puts it, "valid and important mobile apps."

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is Coronavirus Reporter, a free Covid-19 contact tracing app. Apple doesn't allow coronavirus apps that aren't from recognized medical or government organizations, which is why it rejected Coronavirus Reporter. The plaintiff, however, argued that Apple was attempting to maintain a contact tracing "monopoly."

Other apps included in the complaint include a Bitcoin lottery app that distribute free cryptocurrency and a Caller ID app.

Apple filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. On Friday, the plaintiffs filed another motion to strike Apple's.