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Scott Duke Kominers

How Apple Gamed App Pricing

A Supreme Court antitrust case will decide if Apple is responsible for increased pass-through of costs to customers locked into the App Store

One-stop app shopping.

One-stop app shopping.

Photographer: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The appeal of Apple’s iPhone isn’t just the aesthetically pleasing marriage of form and function — it’s also all the apps specially designed for the iPhone’s software.

Apple has a lot of control over those apps. The company requires that they all be sold through the official App Store, and it charges app developers a 30 percent commission on sales. These restrictions and fees are pretty high, and have led to multiple class-action lawsuits. But it wasn’t developers who sued Apple — it was iPhone owners.