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Apple accused of 'rigging the playing field' in potential lawsuit over iCloud

iCloud has "an enormous structural advantage," the suit says.
By

Published onMarch 4, 2024

Apple iCloud stock photo 5
TL;DR
  • A proposed class action lawsuit accuses Apple of anti-competitive behavior regarding iCloud.
  • The filing claims that Apple’s monopoly in cloud storage has allowed it to mark up iCould prices to the point where it generates “almost pure profit.”
  • The suit alleges the firm restricts some file storage to iCloud to dominate the market.

Apple currently has its hands full attempting to appeal the €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion) fine levied upon it by the European Commission over the App Store’s “anti-steering” provisions. But that may not be the only legal trouble the company has to worry about. A proposed lawsuit argues Apple’s iCloud has a monopoly over the cloud storage market.

According to Bloomberg, plaintiffs in a proposed class action lawsuit claim Apple is “rigging the competitive playing field” through its iCloud practices. As a result, the suit argues that the tech giant has a monopoly, dominating with a 70% share of the market.

The filing does not chalk up Apple’s dominance to a lack of competition. In fact, it names a few big players in the space, like Microsoft and Google. However, the problem seems to stem from certain arbitrary restrictions Apple allegedly places on data from its mobile devices.

Specifically, the complaint cites restricting the storage of certain iPhone and iPad data — like application data and device settings — to iCloud. The suit alleges that the Cupertino firm won’t allow this information to be hosted on other cloud services, which has “unlawfully ‘tied'” Apple’s mobile devices to its cloud platform.

“Apple has marked up its iCloud prices to the point where the service is generating almost pure profit. Apple’s ability to sustain these prices is a testament to its monopoly power,” according to the suit.

icloud gross margins

In addition to all of this, the suit mentions that iPhone users are forced to use iCloud if they want to perform a complete backup of their device. All of this allegedly leads to iCloud having “an enormous structural advantage against all would-be competitors.”

If the class action lawsuit moves forward, the outlet says it could potentially have a nationwide class consisting of tens of millions of members. It would also contain a subclass of Californian users who bought iCloud plans and were overcharged. The plaintiffs are asking the court to order Apple to stop its “anti-competitive practices,” as well as provide declaratory relief and monetary relief.

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