A Dutch foundation has sued Apple over App Store development costs, seeking 5.5 billion euros in damages for what it claims is monopolistic behavior. In one the Dutch Consumer Competition Claims Foundation said it was filing a “collective claim” for damages, on behalf of any iPhone or iPad owner in the EU who downloaded a paid app or made in-app purchases.
Suing Apple for its app store policies on behalf of consumers – instead of developers – might seem like an unusual move on the part of the Dutch foundation. Most of the scrutiny of the tech giant’s so-called “Apple tax” has focused on its deleterious impact on the market. Last January, Apple agreed to settle a by American developers for 100 million dollars.
The Consumer Competition Claims Foundation alleges that Apple’s development costs have been passed on to consumers, in the form of higher prices. “App developers are forced to pass on to consumers the increased costs caused by Apple’s monopolistic practices and unfair terms,” the foundation wrote in its press release.
The foundation asks EU consumers who have purchased an app from the Apple App Store or made an in-app purchase since September 2009 to his complaint. The lawsuit is expected to be filed in the Amsterdam District Court.
This is not the first time that Apple has been caught by Dutch authorities. Apple has yet to comply with a January order from Dutch regulators that requires the company to offer the dating app to customers. The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) fines Apple €5 million for each week it fails to fulfill the order. Dutch regulators have already fined Apple more than 50 million euros.
But according to TechCrunchthere are of a possible compromise. Apple is working on an amended proposal to its dating app policy, which will be reviewed by ACM. But even if the two sides reach a consensus, Apple will soon have much bigger battles to fight in the EU. The EU is working to finalize the Digital Markets Act, which (amongst a number of other anti-competitive measures) will force companies like Apple and Google to allow for in-app payments.
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