France-based iOS developers join forces with US company Hagens Berman in class-action antitrust lawsuit against Apple’s App Store fees – Business Wire | Hot Mobile Press

SAN JOSE, California–(BUSINESS WIRE). with Paris-based antitrust lawyer Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi.

“We just finished our hard-fought settlement with Apple and are ready to get back in the ring,” said Steve Berman, Hagens Berman’s managing partner and attorney representing the proposed class of iOS developers. “Our firm is pleased to see that iOS developers from other countries are seeking the same fairness that we have been able to achieve for US developers. We believe they, too, have been unjustly subjected to the stifling policies of Apple’s App Store, and we intend to bring Apple to justice.”

“In fact, Le GESTE and its members are at the forefront of several initiatives and struggles for a more balanced and fair functioning of the digital world in France and in Europe. By its nature and magnitude, today’s action demonstrates our determination to seek such changes and remedial actions,” said Bertrand Gié, President and Head of Le GESTE Digital Department at Le Figaro, and Emmanuel Alix, Vice President and Head of Digital GESTE at L’Equipe .

“Apple’s policies and restrictions pose critical issues for all iOS developers using the App Store. There should be a global solution for a global problem. I believe we can build solid bridges to design effective measures because we will leave no room for impunity,” said Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi, Le GESTE’s antitrust attorney and attorney who co-chaired the proposed class of iOS developers with Steve Berman represents.

If you are an iOS developer based in France, learn more about the lawsuit by contacting Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi on 06 27 96 28 65 or fmasmi-Dazi@outlook.com.

Berman also led his firm to winning a 2016 lawsuit against Apple and various publishers, which settled on behalf of e-book buyers who were forced to pay artificially high prices due to collusive price fixing between Apple and the publishers totaled over $560 million. That lawsuit went to the Supreme Court, where the court ruled against Apple. The company also recently filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Apple over antitrust policies within Apple Pay. In addition, Hagens Berman sued Google on behalf of Android app developers using the Google Play Store, winning a $90 million settlement on behalf of the class.

Apple Antitrust deja vu

The lawsuit filed against Apple today accuses Apple of the same antitrust overpricing of its App Store functionality and in-app purchase (IAP) services, and seeks to represent France-based iOS developers who have been subjected to Apple’s hefty commissions, fees and other policies.

Named plaintiffs in the class action include Société du Figaro (developer of the Figaro news app and IAP subscriptions), L’Équipe 24/24 (developer of the L’Équipe sports news and streaming app and IAP subscriptions), and le GESTE, a French association composed of France-based publishers of online content and services, including iOS developers. The plaintiffs allege they purchased overpriced iOS app distribution and IAP services.

“Apple acted as alleged in a deliberate attempt to monopoly the global marketplace,” the lawsuit reads. “There is no valid business need or pro-competitive justification for Apple’s conduct.”

The case was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, bringing the claims of the France-based developers to Apple’s home court. It accuses Apple of engaging in anti-competitive practices by requiring only one app store for iOS devices, paving the way for Apple to abuse its market power.

According to the lawsuit, Apple has been charging a standard 30 percent commission on sales of paid apps and in-app digital products made through the App Store and on iOS apps purchased from the App Store for nearly 14 years.

“This lawsuit seeks to remedy the damage Apple has caused to France-based iOS developers – buyers and participants in the US domestic market for those services – by its violations of US antitrust laws and California’s fair competition law has”, the lawsuit begins.

Apple also requires developers to pay an annual fee if they want their apps and in-app products to be considered by Apple for distribution on the App Store. This is especially harmful for smaller and new developers. Bringing all iOS apps to one marketplace also means consumers never see most apps, advocates say, stifling competition and innovation. According to a legal act filed by Apple last year, there were more than 2 million apps available on the App Store at the time.

The lawsuit, representing France-based iOS developers, aims to force Apple to end its abusive monopoly and allow competition in the distribution of iOS apps and related products, scrap pricing regulations, and compensate developers for excessive fees that caused by abuse of its monopoly power.

According to the lawsuit, “plaintiffs are not alone in their view of Apple’s anti-competitive conduct. In October 2020, the US House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust issued a report in which the authors concluded, among other things, that Apple is a willful monopolist in operating the App Store and over its IAP product.”

The previous developer comparison

In 2021, the company secured its $100 million settlement on behalf of US iOS developers, which led to the creation of a Small Developer Assistance Fund and important changes to App Store policies and practices.

In this comparison, small US iOS developers — those with less than $1 million in the App Store expiring June 4, 2015 through April 26, 2021 across all associated developer accounts per calendar year — can make payments of at least $250 to $30,000 US dollars get more based on historical participation in the iOS App Store ecosystem.

In addition to the financial relief, the settlement brought changes to App Store policies and practices for US iOS developers related to App Store search results, app and in-app product price points, appeals against app rejection, and transparency. Small US iOS developers will also benefit from a commitment that for at least three years after the court approves the settlement, Apple will not increase the 15% commission rate that applies to those who participate in its small business program.

Among other benefits of the settlement, Apple will allow all US iOS developers to communicate with their customers outside of their apps through purchasing methods other than Apple’s IAP system. Apple will also lift the ban on US developers from using information obtained in their apps to communicate with their customers outside of their apps about using purchase methods other than IAP, subject to consumer consent and opt-out safeguards.

Read about the class action lawsuit against Apple in a California court on behalf of France-based iOS developers.

About Hagens Berman

Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ complex litigation firm with a relentless pursuit of real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its inception in 1993, the firm’s determination has garnered numerous national awards, accolades and titles as the Firm’s Most Feared Plaintiffs, MVPs and Class Action Innovators. To learn more about the firm and its accomplishments, visit hbsslaw.com. Follow the company for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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