Apple has been hit with a £785 million ($1 billion) class action lawsuit on behalf of over 1,500 developers in the UK over its App Store fees, reports TechCrunch.
The lawsuit says the tech giant abuses its dominant position by charging an “anti-competitive” 15% to 30% fee on in-app sales in apps offered on its iOS App Store. The suit also argues U.K. consumers are suffering as developers are being deprived of money that could be spent on R&D to help drive app innovation.
The lawsuit is being brought by Sean Ennis, a professor at the Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia, on behalf of app developers.
“Apple’s charges to app developers are excessive, and only possible due to its monopoly on the distribution of apps onto iPhones and iPads,” said Ennis in a statement. “The charges are unfair in their own right, and constitute abusive pricing. They harm app developers and also app buyers.”
UK-based developers don’t have to register to be included in any potential damage awards, which would be calculated based on their app business.
Apple has been accused of or investigated for anti-competitive practices in several countries over the past few years. In France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, the United States, and more, many of the complaints were related to the App Store.
The complaints have forced Apple to make changes to the App Store in some countries. For example, Apple now allows developers to offer alternative payment systems in South Korea.
In the European Union, Apple is being forced to follow the rules laid out in the Digital Markets Act, which requires the iPhone maker to allow apps to be installed on an iPhone via sideloading or alternate app stores in iOS 17.