Apple IPhone Antitrust Complaint Dismissed by U.S. Judge

Apple Inc. won dismissal on procedural grounds of a lawsuit claiming the company maintains a monopoly over iPhone applications.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, ruled today that the plaintiffs weren’t in a legal position to bring the suit as they hadn’t bought the applications at issue in the case. The complaint can still be amended and refiled, Gonzalez said.

The plaintiffs failed to prove “collective allegations that they have been deprived of lower cost alternatives, paid higher prices for Apple-approved applications, or had their iPhones disabled or destroyed,” Gonzalez wrote. “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.”

In a suit originally filed in 2011, the same consumers argued Cupertino, California-based Apple has built a monopoly for iPhone applications because they’re only for sale at Apple’s App Store.

Apple requires iPhone software developers to turn over 30 percent of what they charge for an application, increasing prices and excluding competitors from the iPhone “aftermarket” of applications, according to the suit.

Alexander Schmidt, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a phone interview that he’ll have “no difficulty” refiling the case to meet the judge’s requirements.

“We can add the extra detail very easily” to advance the claim Apple has “cornered the distribution market for software for the iPhone,” he said.

The case is In re Apple iPhone Antitrust Litigation 11-cv-06714, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

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