In recent years, Apple and Google have been investigated and were imposed billions in fines by competent authorities in Europe and the United States in several antitrust cases. Both companies have abused their dominant position in the market with restrictive contracts in order to unlawfully sustain a monopoly in the app stores in Android and iOS. Apple fully controls the distribution of apps to its users and requires that app developers use Apple’s In-App Purchase payment processing system for App Store and in-app purchases. Google Play’s billing system is also required for developers offering in-app purchases of digital goods and services distributed on Google Play.
In September 2021, the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in the “EPIC GAMES, INC. vs APPLE INC.” case that issued an injunction according to which Apple is no longer allowed to prohibit developers from providing links or other communications that direct users away from Apple’s In-App Purchase payment processing system.
Under the In-App Purchase and Google Play payment processing systems, Apple and Google collect payments made to developers, keep up to 30% as commission and remits only the rest to developers. That means Apple and Google have charged app developers 30% commission for every sale made either directly in the Google Play or Apple App Store (paid apps) or within any particular application (in-app digital purchases), while they have not allowed developers to use any alternative system of processing payment transactions.
In December 2021, the Rotterdam District Court ruled that Apple must comply with the decision of the Dutch Authority for the Consumers and Markets (ACM) according to which Apple must adjust its unreasonable conditions, such as its 30% commission.
As a result of these unlawful practices, app developers suffered damages since the 30% transaction fee was considered excessive and they did not have access to any other alternative system of payment. Therefore, all app developers who distributed their applications via Google Play or Apple App Store within EU countries and received payments either for their applications or for in-app purchases via Google Play or Apple App Store proprietary billing systems may be entitled to claim compensation.
In these cases damages are calculated from the difference between the price actually paid for the payment services or fees from purchases, and the quantity that would have been paid if Google and Apple had not developed their anti-competitive practices.
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