iTunes App Store Antitrust Lawsuit Dismissed, but Not Dead Yet

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed a lawsuit against Apple on Thursday that claimed the iPhone and iPad maker was violating antitrust laws by limiting iOS app sales to its own iTunes-based App Store. The judge tossed out the case because the plaintiffs hadn't actually bought any of the apps mentioned in filing, or shown that they had personally suffered from Apple's policies. The case can, however, be amended to address the issues the Judge listed, so the lawsuit isn't dead yet.

Judge dismisses App Store monopoly abuse caseJudge dismisses App Store monopoly abuse case

Judge Gonzalez stated in her ruling that, "at a minimum, plaintiffs must allege facts showing that each named plaintiff has personally suffered an injury-in-fact based on Apple's alleged conduct," according to Bloomberg.

The key point in the case against Apple was that the plaintiffs didn't like being limited to purchasing iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch apps only through Apple's App Store. They claimed that because iOS apps are only available through Apple's own system, and that the company takes a 30 percent cut from each sale, that prices were artificially high.

Apple does restrict iOS app sales to just the App Store and the company screens each app before allowing it to appear in iTunes. To install apps that haven't met with Apple's approval, users must jailbreak, or hack, their device and use services such as Cedia.

The plaintiff's attorney, Alexander Schmidt, doesn't see any issues with bringing the case back to life. "We can add the extra detail very easily," he said.

This isn't the first time Apple has been accused of monopoly abuse related to the iTunes Store. In 2005, a lawsuit claimed that Apple intentionally changed the iTunes software to block the RealNetworks Harmony portable music player, and at one point then CEO Steve Jobs was on the list of witnesses the plaintiffs wanted to testify. Following Mr. Jobs's testimony, Apple moved to get the case dismissed.

The company has also been hit with lawsuits by parents who were angry over in-app purchases their children were making, and instances where customers were double-charged for music downloads.

Mr. Schmidt hasn't said when he expects to have the amended App Store antitrust case filed, and Apple hasn't commented on its temporary win.