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Apple refutes antitrust allegations of App Store monopoly

Apple this week hit back at the assertion that it is violating antitrust laws by only allowing iPhone users to download apps via its App Store.

As reported by Bloomberg, Apple lawyers argued that the firm does not set the prices for apps or in-app purchases, while charging a 30 per cent fee for using its app platform does not violate antitrust laws, the lawyers said.

Opponents, however, argued that since iPhone users only have one option when it comes to purchasing apps for the smartphone, "then Apple is a monopolist."

California district Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has not yet issued a ruling on the topic, Bloomberg said.

The case dates back to 2011, when four iPhone owners filed an antitrust class-action suit that accused Apple of being monopolistic with its iPhone model. The suit took issue with the exclusive contract Apple initially had with AT&T for the iPhone, the $99 annual fee it charged developers for access to its SDK, and the inability to download apps from anywhere other than the App Store.

"Apple has unlawfully stifled competition, reduced output and consumer choice, and artifically increased prices in the aftermarkets for iPhone voice and data services and for iPhone software applications," according to the initial complaint.

The suit asked the court to stop Apple from selling iPhones that cannot download third-party apps, among other things. The suit also touches on mobile phone unlocking, which has become a hot topic in recent months, as the US Copyright Office recently made it illegal without carrier permission.

Apple tried unsuccessfully to have the case dismissed last year.