My Amicus Brief
The Supreme Court is going to start hearing arguments today in a case where consumers are challenging Apple’s distribution monopoly on iPhone apps. These consumers are represented by the attorney generals of 30 states including California, Texas, Florida and New York.
I just heard about this case today and it is too late to file an amicus brief, so I am simply going to share my thoughts on this case here.
1/ Apple argues that consumers cannot bring suit against them as it is the app developers who are the harmed party if there is one at all. I don’t agree with that for two reasons. First, developers pass the increased costs on to the consumer. Second, the developers are not going to attack Apple because they are their only way to get to market.
2/ Apple argues that a decision against them will harm the broader e-commerce market. I don’t agree with that either. If anything, opening up the distribution system for mobile applications would massively increase the e-commerce market which is artificially constrained by Apple and Google’s mobile app store monopolies. I wrote a bit about that earlier this year.
3/ The US Chamber of Commerce did write a brief in support of Apple in which they argued that “The increased risk and cost of litigation will chill innovation, discourage commerce, and hurt developers, retailers
Apple and Google have constrained the distribution system for mobile apps in many parts of the world and the result is higher costs for consumers, less choice, and ultimately less innovation. None of this is good for the economy. It is high time for the courts to weigh in here and open up the opportunity for