Apple sued by French developers because of its App Store fees

App Store on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

A group of French developers has filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming that the company's App Store fees of up to 30% commission are too high and designed to destroy competition. 

On Monday a group of French app developers including Société du Figaro, makers of the Figaro news app, and L'Équipe 24/24, which makes the L'Équipe sports app, sued Apple claiming it has abused its monopoly over iOS app distribution, the same core argument used by Epic Games in its unsuccessful lawsuit against Apple. 

Reuters reports that the complaint alleges "Apple has abused its monopoly power over app distribution on iOS-based mobile devices by mandating only one app store for those devices," enabling Apple to charge up to 30% commission on App Store transactions for 14 years and annual fees of $99 for developers. They say these fees are "supracompetitive" and that Apple's business model stifles innovation and reduces choice for consumers. 

App Store anger

According to the report, the group states that "there is no valid business necessity or pro-competitive justification for Apple's conduct" and that Apple's actions "are designed to destroy competition."

The suit reportedly references an already-successful suit filed against Apple by Hagens Berman that saw the company pay out $100 million to iOS app developers last year over roughly the same complaint. 

As noted, the complaint largely echoes that of Epic Games made in the Free Fortnite campaign that led to Apple's victory in a high-profile legal case last year. 

The arguments broadly circulate around the fact that Apple's iOS App Store is the only way to distribute apps to customers. Furthermore, these apps are bound to use Apple's in-app purchases service, funneling a chunk of all sales to Apple as commission for being hosted on its ecosystem. While some countries including the Netherlands and South Korea have legislated that Apple must let developers offer alternative payment systems, the company continues to charge commission on these transactions at the rate of 27%. The company has always maintained that it should be allowed to collect commission on transactions made through devices like the iPhone 13 for digital goods and services, an argument back by the court in the Epic Games case. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9