The year 2021 has seen yet again a couple of lawsuits against Apple in different countries (several of them are in European countries). From misleading claims of battery life to app store scams, these lawsuits go above 200 million USD. Let us look at some of the major recent lawsuits against Apple in 2020 and 2021:
Last year (December 2020) Apple was sued by its rival for monopolizing the App store. Cydia (a company created in 2008) has alleged that Apple, unlike Android’s ecosystem where you can use apps like AC Market, F-Droid, GetJar, etc., illegally killed all competition for its app store.
Consumers do not have the ability to choose where they can obtain iOS App and developers are deprived of options of choosing which distributors to use. The complaint has been filed in Oakland, California federal court which has alleged Apple of exploiting their dominance in the market by squashing companies like Cydia (which might face bankruptcy and is on the verge of closing).
Cydia aka SaurikIT is a brainchild of software engineer Jay Freeman who is seeking unspecified damages. The law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan represents Cydia. The same law firm had represented Samsung against Apple in patent litigation. The same year in August (2020) Epic games (which makes Fortnite video games) had accused Apple of illegally removing Fortnite video games from the app store.
This was done because Epic wanted to use its own payment system rather than paying a 30% commission to Apple. Apple later said that it would be reducing its commission from 30% to 15% which would reduce its proceeds from App store sales by 1 million USD.
A European consumer advocacy group has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging Apple intentionally throttled older iPhones in Italy. A report from TechCrunch says that the advocacy group is looking at an amount of over 73 USD as compensation for those who own iPhone 6, 6 S, 6 Plus, and 6 S Plus iPhones.
Euroconsumers, who filed the lawsuits has shared a release which states that “Euro consumers represent the world’s largest consumer cluster organization with a size of 1.5 million consumers and it has filed a lawsuit against Apple in Italy. This lawsuit alleges that Apple did a planned obsolescence of Apple iPhones in Italy.
Altroconsumo, a member of Euroconsumer, has filed this lawsuit and seeks compensation of a minimum 60 (on average) for owners of iPhone 6, 6 S, 6 Plus, and 6 S Plus iPhones.” This lawsuit was filed in Jan 2021 and Euroconsumer had filed another lawsuit in the month of December 2020 also (on behalf of OCU in Spain and Test-Achats in Belgium).
The company plans to file another lawsuit against Apple in Portugal. Els Bruggeman, who is the head of policy and enforcement at Euroconsumers, stated that “consumers buying Apple iPhones expect sustainable quality products. But the iPhone 6 series has failed to meet the expectations.
The iPhone 6 series not only defrauded consumers(where they had to deal with financial harm and frustration), the phone is also a hazard from an environmental point of view. What we ask is simple: if American consumers received compensation from Apple, European consumers deserve the same respect and fairness.”. Even earlier, in 2017, Apple had been accused of purposely slowing down iPhones.
At that time Apple had to issue an apology since some of the changes done by the company had caused damage to iPhones. The apology was followed by compensation to iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, and other older iPhone users. The affected users also got a battery replacement program from Apple at a discounted price.
For the latest lawsuit, an Apple spokesperson had emailed “The Verge” saying “Apple would never intentionally slow down or shorten the life of their products nor will it degrade the user experience. Apple always strives to make iPhones last as long as possible and create products which customers can love.” Last March Apple had agreed to an amount of 500 million USD for settling lawsuits in the US where it admitted to slowing down iPhones.
Customers who bought iPhone 6 or 7 (which were throttled to preserve battery life) were compensated. The company again agreed to a second settlement in 34 US states last year in November (2020) for an additional 113 million USD.
For the allegations of slowing down the older iPhones so that company could profit when people bought new iPhones rather than replacing batteries, Apple stated that it “fully understood” the allegation but it never admitted to any of the allegations.