App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • Cydia, the app store most know as accessible through jailbreak, is suing Apple.
  • The company claims Apple has a monopoly over app distribution and should allow competing app stores.

Reported by The Washington Post, Cydia, a popular app store for the iPhone that existed before Apple's own App Store and then became accessible through jailbreak, is suing Apple. The lawsuit claims that Apple used anticompetitive means to kill of Cydia and that it currently maintains a monopoly over app distribution on iOS.

"Were it not for Apple's anticompetitive acquisition and maintenance of an illegal monopoly over iOS app distribution, users today would actually be able to choose how and where to locate and obtain iOS apps, and developers would be able to use the iOS app distributor of their choice," the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Northern California and Cydia is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan.

Fred Sainz, a spokesman for Apple, reiterating the company's stance that it is not a monopoly due to other competing app stores. He also pointed to privacy and security as the reason for Apple's stance on controlling app distribution on its devices.

Apple spokesman Fred Sainz said the company will review the lawsuit and denied that the company is a monopoly. It says it faces competition from Google's Android operating system, which is used by competing handset makers like Samsung and Google itself. And Apple says it must tightly control the way software is installed on the iPhone to protect its customers from inadvertently downloading viruses and other security threats and from installing apps that invade its customers' privacy.

Cydia ơn the iPhoneSource: iMore

As pointed out by the report, this lawsuit is quite different than the Epic and Spotify fights before it due to the fact that Cydia was actually a competing app store that existed on the iPhone before it was removed.

The Cydia lawsuit represents a new kind of challenge to Apple's power. While Epic, Spotify and other companies say they are victims of Apple's alleged App Store monopoly, they aren't direct competitors to the App Store itself. Cydia, which was popular in the early days of the iPhone, offers a real-world example of what competition might look like.

Jay Freeman, the mind behind Cydia, says that Apple's security and privacy claims over overblown and that consumers should have the ability on what to install and from where.

"Morally speaking, it's your phone and you should be able to do whatever you want with it," Freeman said. "You should get to decide which applications you put on it, and you should be able to decide where you get those applications from."

Stephen Swedlow, the lead attorney at Quinn Emanuel which represents Cydia, says that the "legal climate" for this arugment has changed and that now is the time to fight to allow a competing app store on the iPhone.

"The legal climate for this claim has been changing," said Stephen Swedlow, the lead attorney for Cydia. Swedlow said he's been watching other lawsuits, including the one filed by Epic, and he believes Cydia could be the "perfect claimant" for an antitrust case against Apple. Swedlow said that if the suit is successful, Cydia would aim to once again compete with Apple, this time without the need for jailbreaking.

You can read the full report at The Washington Post.