Court throws out lawsuit claiming Apple stifles App Store competition

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A lawsuit alleging the App Store and Sign in with Apple stifle competition has been thrown out.
  • Apple says Blix, the developer of BlueMail, is a "frequent complainer to press and regulators," in a new statement.

Update July 13: Blix provided a statement to iMore and it's been added to the bottom of this post in its entirity

After having one lawsuit against Apple tossed last year, BlueMail developer Blix has suffered another black eye after a federal judge in Delaware granted Apple's motion to dismiss its claims a second time.

Blix, a founding member of the Coalition for App fairness, had claimed that the App Store and Sign in with Apple authentication system were harming competition. A judge disagreed, saying that Apple doesn't prevent other single sign-on systems from being used. In fact, the judge went further and said that what Apple does is "the opposite of unlawfully constraining competition, so, again, Blix has failed to state a claim."

Apple is understandably happy with the outcome, giving a statement to 9to5Mac that is right out of the Steve Jobs playbook of dealing with unruly developers.

Blix, a member of the Coalition for App Fairness and frequent complainer to press and regulators, alleged false conspiracy theories and anti-competitive claims against Apple. The court correctly rejected these claims and threw out Blix's case. This case demonstrates that Apple has consistently acted legally by introducing its own innovative products and features that promote competition.

This one win for Apple doesn't change the fact the company is facing significant legal pressure around the globe. Governments and lawmakers are concerned about the way Apple does business in the App Store, and that's the kind of scrutiny that isn't going to go away any time soon.

Apple will be hoping that none of this can detract from the upcoming iPhone 13 announcement, a release that will surely bring us the best iPhone yet.

Blix provided the following statement after publication.

Blix accurately described Apple's monopoly power in mobile OS, and Apple chose not to contest that in court. At the same time, we are disappointed by the court's decision to somewhat signal that Apple can put sand in the gears to competitors and change its developer guidelines as it sees fit. This includes kicking BlueMail off the App Store for 8 months, stonewalling BlueMail for many weeks a year later and various other bullying tactics. These are facts that Apple did not refute in court.We are glad that the fairness movement we've started for app developers to speak out the truth against Apple continues to gain momentum and we have high hopes that the Biden administration, the EU Commission, Australia and other countries will limit Apple's disproportionate power.Blix will continue to fight for the fundamental and essential app developers' rights and will stand firm in allowing fair and balanced competition. The digital markets would be much more innovative had Apple allowed for true competition. The ability to innovate by small businesses continues to be at stake.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.