This is considered the latest lawsuit to limit the monopoly power of Apples.
The lawsuit was filed on December 10 by the programmer who created Cydia, a popular app store for the iPhone launched in 2007, before the App Store appeared.
According to the Washington Post, the lawsuit accuses Apple of using its power to “destroy” Cydia, making way for the App Store.
Cydia said that Apple is exclusively distributing applications for the iOS platform. The lawsuit requires Apple to open the door to third-party app stores, helping users and programmers choose their favorite app stores.
Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, said he would review the lawsuit but denied the monopoly allegations. According to Sainz, Apple is facing competition from Android, and must strictly control how to install apps to avoid malware infection.
While Epic Games with Fortnite or Spotify music service only target Apple’s policy on the App Store, Cydia is a direct competitor of this app store.
It is estimated that the App Store generates about $ 15 billion in revenue each year. Although it accounts for only a small portion of Apple’s revenue, this is an important springboard for Apple’s burgeoning services business.
The App Store’s success comes in part from how content is controlled. While macOS allows software to be installed from multiple sources, iOS allows apps to be installed from a single place. All apps on the App Store must be strictly censored by Apple.
Jay Freeman is the “father” of Cydia. When he used the iPhone in 2007, he was disappointed that the phone lacked many important features. From there, Freeman created Cydia (named after a pest) and successfully won the team.
According to Freeman, about 50% of iPhone users first “jailbroken” (jailbreak) phones to install Cydia. In 2010, Freeman said that the app store had 4.5 million people searching for the app every day.
Since the App Store launched in 2008, Apple has always warned users about the risks of jailbreaking. They were overblown, Freeman argues.
“It’s morally your phone and you can do anything. You need to decide which apps to install and where to install them”, Freeman said. In 2009, the US Copyright Office determined that cracking was not illegal activity.
After losing the lawsuit, Apple continuously tries to prevent the installation of Cydia. The company also added to iOS many features that Cydia has provided such as Control Center, floating notifications, adding widgets to the home screen.
Freeman said Cydia’s revenue peaked in 2011 and 2012, around $ 10 million. Cydia also charges discounts for app developers. By 2013, when the App Store had more apps and iOS was more complete, Cydia was at a dead end.
Apple even recruits “jailbreakers” for its security team. The iPhone jailbreak is getting more and more difficult. Several veterans claim the era of jailbreak is over.
Freeman is still a programmer but doesn’t spend much time on Cydia. Freeman’s attorneys at Quinn Emanuel, the law firm that once represented Samsung in the patent lawsuit with Apple, say that is when Cydia sues Apple in court.
Stephen Swedlow, Cydia’s chief lawyer, said if the lawsuit succeeds, Cydia will aim to compete with Apple, this time without jailbreak.