Apple fails to dismiss Cydia creator’s amended antitrust lawsuit

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Apple has lost an attempt to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought against it by Jay Freeman, the creator of an alternative app store called Cydia for jailbroken iPhones and iPads.

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Freeman sued Apple in late 2020, claiming that Apple has an illegal monopoly on the distribution of iOS apps through the App Store. His complaint also alleged that Apple “constantly tried to crack down on alternative app stores” such as Cydia.

In January 2022, Apple had a motion to be dismissed by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who agreed with the company that the claims in the first lawsuit were outside the statute of limitations. However, the judge allowed Freeman to file a new complaint, which has now been accepted. Reuters,

Freeman’s lawyers argued in the amended lawsuit that Apple’s technological upgrades between 2018 and 2021 were “open” actions that hurt iOS app distributors such as Cydia. The changes Apple has made to iOS are described as “more aggressive” and designed to prevent Cydia and other alternative app stores from offering “usable” iPhone apps.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Judge Gonzalez Rogers said: “To the extent that plaintiffs’ claims are based on Apple’s technology upgrades to exclude Cydia from being able to operate simultaneously, those claims are timely.”

According to the report, the lawsuit seeks to “open the market for iOS app distribution and iOS app payment processing to those who wish to compete significantly with Apple and recover the huge damages caused by Cydia by Apple.”

Gonzalez Rogers has ordered Apple to respond to Freeman’s complaint in mid-June.

Cydia was launched in early 2008, months before the launch of the App Store. The app allows users who have jailbroken their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to install apps outside the App Store, as well as themes and tweaks that customize the look and functionality of iOS.

In filing the original lawsuit, Freeman joins a growing number of developers who have sued Apple for alleged anti-competitive behavior, including Fortnite creator Epic Games. Gonzalez Rogers is the same judge who last year largely ruled in favor of Apple in the Epic case, which is now pending in the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.

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