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Apple will face a full trial in the U.K. over claims that it violated competition regulations by overcharging people on the App Store through its commission rate.
The London-based Competition Appeal Tribunal refused an attempt by Apple to limit or toss out a class-action complaint that was filed in 2021. Dr. Rachael Kent, a digital economy specialist and lecturer, is leading the action.
“I applaud the Competition Appeal Tribunal for this clear and well-thought-out decision,” she said. A claim of this magnitude is always going to be heavily defended. The anti-competitive practices that we are alleging against Apple go to the heart of Apple’s business strategy, and with its almost unlimited resources, it will always make this a challenging fight.”
According to Dr. Kent’s complaint, Apple’s 30% commission on app and in-app purchases is unfair. Additionally, she argues that Apple’s cut has forced developers to raise prices and push the cost to consumers.
At a court hearing in May, Apple attempted to argue against Kent’s claim that the 30% cut is unfair and excessive on the basis that she had applied the wrong legal test. The tribunal, however, dismissed all of Apple’s arguments.
“We do not accept Apple’s argument that the pleadings disclose a legal error or defective approach, either in relation to the correct legal test for the abuse or for the consideration of economic value in that exercise,” Tribunal chairman Ben Tidswell said.
This is not the first time that Apple has faced criticism for its 30% cut of App Store purchases. The company’s commission rate, which was a standard among most app stores, has attracted opposition from lawmakers, developers, and others. Most famously, Epic Games launched a full-scale campaign and lawsuit against Apple because of it.
Apple has since offered alternative commission rates, including a reduced 15% commission for developers making less than $1 million in sales from the App Store.