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Supreme Court May Clear Antitrust Suit Over Apple App Store: Report

The long-running case accuses Apple of holding a monopoly in the iOS app market that has led to unfair prices for consumers.

Consumers seeking to challenge Apple's requirement that iOS apps are sold through its App Store could be nearing a win in the U.S. Supreme Court, Reuters reported Monday, as the nation's top court heard arguments in the case.

Apple had appealed a lower court ruling that said the lawsuit—which accuses Apple of violating federal antitrust laws—could proceed.

[Related: Lawsuit Against Apple Getting 'Huge Volume' Of Inquiries From Upset MacBook Pro Owners]

Apple has previously argued that the plaintiffs, led by Chicago resident Robert Pepper, did not have legal standing to file the suit against Apple because app prices are set by developers, not Apple.

But the plaintiffs have argued that the 30 percent fee charged by Apple for the sale of apps in its App Store is passed along to consumers, and contended that Apple has "willfully acquired and maintained a monopoly in the iPhone apps aftermarket and has made itself the only distributor of iPhone apps in the entire world," as a filing in the lawsuit reads.

"Apple has no competition in the multibillion dollar iPhone Apps aftermarket, domestically or abroad, whatsoever," the filing reads.

Reuters reported on Monday that U.S. Supreme Court justices "appeared open" to allowing the antitrust suit against Apple to continue.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit, which has been proposed as a class-action case, was originally filed in December 2011.

The administration of President Donald Trump has been among the supporters of Apple in the case, while 30 state attorneys general are siding with the plaintiffs, according to Reuters.

Apple's services business, which includes App Store sales, reached $37.19 billion in revenue for its fiscal year 2018, which ended Sept. 29. That represented a 24-percent increase from Apple's fiscal 2017.

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