Apple face $1bn lawsuit as UK app developers join forces against ‘excessive’ charges

Technology companies have renewed their attack on proposed laws that would force them to identify child sexual abuse in encrypted messages.

Apple is being sued for £1bn (£785m) by UK app developers over its App Store fees.

Professor Sean Ennis, from the University of East Anglia Centre for Competition Policy, is bringing the class action lawsuit on behalf of 1,566 app creators because of the tech giant’s “excessive” charges.

Some app makers are charged 15% to 30% by Apple in commission when using its in-app payment system – a procedure that has been criticised by antitrust regulators in several countries.

Professor Ennis said: “Apple’s charges to app developers are excessive, and only possible due to its monopoly on the distribution of apps onto iPhones and iPads.

“The charges are unfair in their own right, and constitute abusive pricing. They harm app developers and also app buyers.”

Apple previously said 85% of developers on the App Store do not pay any commission and that it helps European developers to access markets and customers in 175 countries around the world through the App Store.

Apple’s services business, including Apple Pay, Apple Arcade and the App Store, are escalating its growth with revenues at around $80bn (£62bn) per year.

In November, the UK Competition and Market Authority (CMA) launched a probe into the dominance of Apple and Google’s mobile browsers in the cloud market.