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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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An antitrust lawsuit leveled at Apple by Blix Inc. has been dismissed by a federal judge, in what appears to be a major setback for developers accusing Apple of malpractice with its App Store (via Bloomberg).

bluemail-mac-app-store.jpg


BlueMail was removed from the Mac App Store in June 2019 after Apple found the app to be in violation of several App Store Review Guidelines, including "proposing to override basic data security protections which can expose users' computers to malware that can harm their Macs and threaten their privacy." Just days later, BlueMail was restored to the Mac App Store.

Blix Inc., developer of the email app BlueMail, then filed a lawsuit accusing Apple of manipulating search results in its iOS and macOS App Stores to suppress third-party competition and push consumers towards Apple's own apps. Blix also alleged that Apple copied patented messaging technology for its "Sign In With Apple" feature before removing BlueMail from the App Store.

Judge Leonard P. Stark of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware dismissed the claims, concluding Blix had failed to offer direct or indirect evidence of Apple's monopoly power or anticompetitive conduct in violation of the Sherman Act.

"Allegations that Apple has the power to restrict competition aren't equivalent to allegations that the company actually did restrict competitors' output", Judge Stark wrote. "Even if Blix had plausibly alleged that Apple held a monopoly over apps, its failure to allege anticompetitive conduct provides an independent reason to dismiss its claims."

Judge Stark said Blix's anticompetitive-conduct claims failed because the company itself demonstrated that the App Store isn't essential to BlueMail's success. Blix told the court that BlueMail had achieved success on a range of platforms, and was sold on the market for five years before becoming available on the App Store.

Moreover, Judge Stark dismissed the claims of patent infringement on the basis that they do not fall under an exception to patent eligibility that allows for abstract ideas to be patented if they describe a "unique and inventive concept."

The case may set a precedent for similar antitrust lawsuits against Apple by developers, such as the ongoing case brought forward by Epic Games against Apple.

Article Link: BlueMail Antitrust Case Against Apple Dismissed
 

itsmeaustend

Suspended
Apr 27, 2016
332
816
Personally I think someone should go after Apple for disallowing reviews of their own apps. They’re afraid of public criticism. It’s disgusting.

and yea, they do prioritize Apple apps over third party ones in search results. I don’t see how this lawsuit failed. They must of had super bad lawyers to screw up a case like this.


oh, and don’t forget removing user reviews from the Apple online Store too... but I guess that’s another issue on it’s own. Still shows crybaby Apple being afraid of even the slightest bit of criticism though.
 

PickUrPoison

macrumors G3
Sep 12, 2017
8,131
10,721
Sunnyvale, CA
Personally I think someone should go after Apple for disallowing reviews of their own apps. They’re afraid of criticism.

and yea, they do prioritize Apple apps over third party ones. I don’t see how this lawsuit failed.
So Apple’s making a fortune selling their mail app unfairly against Bluemail?

How can the lawsuit not have failed? They failed to provide any evidence whatsoever to support their claim. That’s how they lost.
 

Ritsuka

Cancelled
Sep 3, 2006
1,466
968
Personally I think someone should go after Apple for disallowing reviews of their own apps. They’re afraid of public criticism. It’s disgusting.

and yea, they do prioritize Apple apps over third party ones in search results. I don’t see how this lawsuit failed. They must of had super bad lawyers to screw up a case like this.


oh, and don’t forget removing user reviews from the Apple online Store too... but I guess that’s another issue on it’s own. Still shows crybaby Apple being afraid of even the slightest bit of criticism though.

Apple's apps sold on the App Store can be reviewed. The built-in apps are not sold on the App Store.
 

Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
611
1,759
Edinburgh, UK
Personally I think someone should go after Apple for disallowing reviews of their own apps. They’re afraid of public criticism. It’s disgusting.
I can leave reviews on Apple apps just fine. Apps like Mail, Music, etc aren't apps on the store, it's a technical facility to enable you to restore core apps.

and yea, they do prioritize Apple apps over third party ones in search results. I don’t see how this lawsuit failed. They must of had super bad lawyers to screw up a case like this.
If I search for "spreadsheets" in the iOS store, Numbers is the eighth result. If I search for "Numbers" it's the first result - because it's good UX to return what someone likely wants.

Any more bottomless claims?
 
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MauiPa

macrumors 68020
Apr 18, 2018
2,306
3,281
Personally I think someone should go after Apple for disallowing reviews of their own apps. They’re afraid of public criticism. It’s disgusting.

and yea, they do prioritize Apple apps over third party ones in search results. I don’t see how this lawsuit failed. They must of had super bad lawyers to screw up a case like this.


oh, and don’t forget removing user reviews from the Apple online Store too... but I guess that’s another issue on it’s own. Still shows crybaby Apple being afraid of even the slightest bit of criticism though.
Really? I've read some pretty ignorant reviews from people who obviously didn't even know how to use a spreadsheet and complained about Numbers not being able to do something that clearly it did, and did easily. Funny, if they weren't allowed how was I able to read them? A mystery, I'm sure

And no they don't prioritize their own apps. Just try it with some words that aren't directly related to the name of the Apple product: Spreadsheet, Excel, Word, Word Processor, Powerpoint, Slides, Spotify, streaming, podcast, Outlook, .....

Just because some idiot cam up with a list like Numbers, Pages, Music, Mail and said "see", does not make it so
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,316
5,450
Arguing the macOS App Store is a monopoly is not even close to the same as arguing the iOS App Store is a monopoly.

macOS App Store is obviously not a monopoly - apps can be installed on a Mac from anywhere, and they can be developed anywhere and run in any language.

iOS App Store is a monopoly. There's very few ways to install apps on iOS. Except for web apps which have major restrictions they have to deal with, apps must be written using Apple's tools and with Apple's approval.
 

cmaier

Suspended
Jul 25, 2007
24,384
30,985
California
Personally I think someone should go after Apple for disallowing reviews of their own apps. They’re afraid of public criticism. It’s disgusting.

and yea, they do prioritize Apple apps over third party ones in search results. I don’t see how this lawsuit failed. They must of had super bad lawyers to screw up a case like this.


oh, and don’t forget removing user reviews from the Apple online Store too... but I guess that’s another issue on it’s own. Still shows crybaby Apple being afraid of even the slightest bit of criticism though.

These are all lies. You can review apple‘s apps (Just not the ones built into the OS - what would be the point of that?). And search for spreadsheet - numbers comes up 8th. Search for word processor - pages comes up 10th. Search for “make music” - garage band comes up 10th. Search for “video editor” - iMovie comes up 24th.

If they are prioritizing their own apps they are doing a lousy job of it.

If they are removing your reviews, it’s likely because they have properties similar to your post.
 

Carnegie

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2012
775
1,890
...

Moreover, Judge Stark dismissed the claims of patent infringement on the basis that they do not fall under an exception to patent eligibility that allows for abstract ideas to be patented if they describe a "unique and inventive concept."

The case may set a precedent for similar antitrust lawsuits against Apple by developers, such as the ongoing case brought forward by Epic Games against Apple.

Article Link: BlueMail Antitrust Case Against Apple Dismissed
A couple of things.

One, Judge Stark didn't dismiss all of the patent infringement claims. He only considered claim 17 (of the '284 patent). He granted Apple's motion regarding that claim and dismissed Blix's claim, based on that claim 17, with prejudice. Blix has asserted other claims from the '284 patent and they remain in this case. The judge directed Apple and Blix to confer on where they'd go from here regarding those other claims. Apple might, e.g., file another motion regarding them. Or Blix could agree to drop its remaining infringement claim altogether.

Two, I don't think this decision is particularly relevant for the Epic case. District courts don't necessarily give a lot of weight to decisions from other district courts. More importantly, Blix didn't argue that iOS app distribution was a relevant antitrust market. That's what's at the heart of Epic's legal case - whether iOS app distribution is, in itself, a relevant antitrust market. (Epic also argues that iOS in-app payment is a relevant antitrust market.)

Blix instead argued that iOS email clients and MacOS email clients are relevant antitrust markets. Blix didn't sufficiently demonstrate that Apple has monopoly power when it comes to those markets - i.e., the markets for the clients themselves, not the markets for their distribution. Epic will, I think, more easily be able to demonstrate that Apple has monopoly power when it comes to the distribution of iOS apps. It will, of course, also have to successfully argue that iOS app distribution is a relevant antitrust market. But, at any rate, that's quite a different legal issue than the one that Blix just lost on in this case.
 

MauiPa

macrumors 68020
Apr 18, 2018
2,306
3,281
A couple of things.

One, Judge Stark didn't dismiss all of the patent infringement claims. He only considered claim 17 (of the '284 patent). He granted Apple's motion regarding that claim and dismissed Blix's claim, based on that claim 17, with prejudice. Blix has asserted other claims from the '284 patent and they remain in this case. The judge directed Apple and Blix to confer on where they'd go from here regarding those other claims. Apple might, e.g., file another motion regarding them. Or Blix could agree to drop its remaining infringement claim altogether.

Two, I don't think this decision is particularly relevant for the Epic case. District courts don't necessarily give a lot of weight to decisions from other district courts. More importantly, Blix didn't argue that iOS app distribution was a relevant antitrust market. That's what's at the heart of Epic's legal case - whether iOS app distribution is, in itself, a relevant antitrust market. (Epic also argues that iOS in-app payment is a relevant antitrust market.)

Blix instead argued that iOS email clients and MacOS email clients are relevant antitrust markets. Blix didn't sufficiently demonstrate that Apple has monopoly power when it comes to those markets - i.e., the markets for the clients themselves, not the markets for their distribution. Epic will, I think, more easily be able to demonstrate that Apple has monopoly power when it comes to the distribution of iOS apps. It will, of course, also have to successfully argue that iOS app distribution is a relevant antitrust market. But, at any rate, that's quite a different legal issue than the one that Blix just lost on in this case.
Epic's claim: Big bad Apple makes us put in an in-app purchase button, from which they will bill, pay to Epic, manage, etc and of course charge a fee. Judge: "Can you sell games and stuff outside of the Apple store, like Spotify does?", Epic, "yes your honor"
 

DelayedGratificationGene

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2020
333
691
Such nonsense these antitrust allegations are. Yes it’s an initial great headliner that everyone jumps on of course but after reviewing everything it becomes a joke. Apple is as clean as it gets.
 

ian87w

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2020
4,385
6,303
Indonesia
Judge Stark said Blix's anticompetitive-conduct claims failed because the company itself demonstrated that the App Store isn't essential to BlueMail's success. Blix told the court that BlueMail had achieved success on a range of platforms, and was sold on the market for five years before becoming available on the App Store.
LOL. They need smarter lawyers. I mean you don't claim you're the poor guy and then boasted how successful you are. :D
 

Carnegie

macrumors 6502a
May 24, 2012
775
1,890
Arguing the macOS App Store is a monopoly is not even close to the same as arguing the iOS App Store is a monopoly.

macOS App Store is obviously not a monopoly - apps can be installed on a Mac from anywhere, and they can be developed anywhere and run in any language.

iOS App Store is a monopoly. There's very few ways to install apps on iOS. Except for web apps which have major restrictions they have to deal with, apps must be written using Apple's tools and with Apple's approval.
We can colloquially call the iOS App Store a monopoly, sure. But that's not the issue. The issue is whether it's a relevant antitrust market under our antitrust laws. It could be determined to be one. But Epic has a bit of an uphill fight when it comes to the legal arguments that it is.

There are are various considerations that courts look at to determine whether something is a relevant antitrust market. It isn't enough to say... well, this company is the only one doing or making X. Coca-Cola could be said to have a monopoly on Coke Zero. But Coke Zero surely isn't a relevant market for U.S. antitrust law purposes.
 

bklement

Cancelled
Oct 3, 2019
336
495
and yea, they do prioritize Apple apps over third party ones in search results.
Yeah, they put their apps as first result, and loose money by doing this instead of promoting paid alternatives. Meanwhile google suffocates their competitions by completely hiding them from search results, like what happened to protonmail, still no sanctions.
 

centauratlas

macrumors 65816
Jan 29, 2003
1,463
2,556
Florida
It is unlikely that this case will be precedent in a case except in Delaware. Epic’s case in California can cite this as persuasive, but the court is not bound to it like a precedent.

You are right it is not bound by it, but given it is a district court, any precedent would by the vary nature be limited. Just as similar precedent (e.g. a district judge ruling) in California wouldn't be binding on any other judge in that district. It would be weighed no doubt.

Horizontal stare decisis is what would generally occur if someone were trying to rely on the decision, but that is it. Now if it were to be applied to the Circuit court - if I remember correctly Delaware is part of the 3rd Circuit - and upheld, it would be binding in that circuit on district judges unless they could distinguish the case, vertical stare decisis.

Other Circuit courts would likely give weight to it, but would not be bound.
 
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TheLinkster

macrumors member
Jan 9, 2001
30
122
It is unlikely that this case will be precedent in a case except in Delaware. Epic’s case in California can cite this as persuasive, but the court is not bound to it like a precedent.
It was dismissed without prejudice, so it’s unlikely to set any precedent at all.
 

TheLinkster

macrumors member
Jan 9, 2001
30
122
An antitrust lawsuit leveled at Apple by Blix Inc. has been dismissed by a federal judge, in what appears to be a major setback for developers accusing Apple of malpractice with its App Store (via Bloomberg).
Might be time to have these articles proofed by an attorney, or at least someone with a legal background first. This wasn’t an instance of malpractice by the legal definition. Malpractice implies professional negligence, not anticompetitive behavior.
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 68020
Apr 20, 2016
2,005
2,295
La Jolla, CA
Have said it before, will say it again, IMO, the ONLY way Apple can get into BIG trouble is if it can be proven, either in the Court of Law OR the Court of Public Opinion, that they "intentionally" suppressed third-party App Innovation for their own benefit.
 
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