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Kavanaugh sides with liberal justices against Apple, deals blow to tech giant in App Store challenge

Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court on Monday, penning an opinion against Apple that ruled the tech company can be sued over high prices in their App Store.

The case, Apple v. Pepper, was brought by iPhone users who complained that the App Store is the only place where iPhone apps are available and that, as a result, Apple has a monopoly on “the iPhone apps aftermarket.” They claim prices are consequently high stemming from the charges Apple imposes on app developers.

A district court decision had said that the iPhone users did not have standing to bring their antitrust claim because the developers — not Apple — are the ones selling the apps. Court precedent says that indirect purchasers who are at least two steps removed in a distribution chain cannot sue. Apple also claimed that because they don’t set the retail price of the apps on the store, iPhone users cannot sue them.

The Ninth Circuit, however, said that Apple is indeed the seller, through their App Store. Kavanaugh agreed, along with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

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