Apple v. Pepper had an interesting outcome with Justice Kavanaugh writing a decision joined by the lefty justices, but not the conservative ones, to allow customers to sue Apple on antitrust grounds over its app store.
Despite that, it’s a common sense decision.
Apple has total control over where its customers can buy apps from. The pretense that it’s the developers, not it, in the driver’s seat, is nonsense.
From the conservative perspective though, this case is largely interesting because it may be the biggest challenge to the dot com monopolies in some time.
Apple’s walled garden of apps is a fairly typical example of a dot com business model that depends on creating a narrow marketplace, eliminating competition, and then controlling who gets to play inside, while disavowing all responsibility for it.
Justice Kavanaugh was not on board.
This finding doesn’t state that Apple is a monopoly. It just knocks down its effort to evade responsibility for maintaining one. But it’s an interesting first step with promising applications elsewhere in the dot com monopoly ecosystem. Especially when it comes to Google.
Apple v. Pepper doesn’t take down Apple’s walled garden. But it does make it clear that it’s subject to legal challenges. As dot coms race to create their own monopolized marketplaces, Apple v. Pepper serves as an important warning. Apple built the app marketplace business model. Its behavior may help destroy it.
Apple is far from the worst dot com offender.
In terms of the threats conservatives face, it’s mostly a non-issue. And the issue mainly relates to banning conservative apps from its marketplace. But this might be the beginning of a legal road that can steamroll Silicon Valley.