Apple Inc.’s win in federal court against a developer’s antitrust claims against the App Store has erased one legal headache. Now, it awaits a more high-profile decision on similar grounds.
On Friday, a federal judge in Delaware dismissed a lawsuit from Blix Inc. because it failed to demonstrate how Apple
harmed competition in the mobile operating-system market by requiring developers to offer an Apple-specific log-in function.
Blix, which lost to Apple for the second time since December, is one of the founding members of Coalition for App Fairness. One of the group’s other founding members, Epic Games Inc., awaits a federal judge’s decision in its antitrust lawsuit vs. Apple and the App Store.
“Apple’s current policy of requiring Sign In With Apple whenever any SSO [single sign-on] product is offered permits new competitors and competition (including Blix) because it does not foreclose the use of other SSOs. Allowing competition is the opposite of unlawfully constraining competition, so, again, Blix has failed to state a claim,” U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark wrote in his decision.
Blix is likely to appeal the ruling, company co-founder Ben Volach told MarketWatch.
“Blix will continue to fight for the fundamental and essential app developers’ rights and will stand firm in allowing fair and balanced competition,” Volach said in a statement. “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.”
The decision underscores fundamental flaws in the coalition members’ premise that the App Store is punitive toward developers, according to a person close to Apple’s legal team. Other coalition members include Spotify Technology
and Match Group Inc.
“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,” Apple said of the decision. “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.”
Epic, whose lawsuit centers on the App Store’s 30% commission fee for many developers, declined comment on Friday’s court dismissal.
Apple shares were flat in trading Monday.