Apple’s iCloud Monopoly Challenged in Court

Since its debut at WWDC in 2011, iCloud has maintained a complimentary storage limit of 5GB, a figure that has remained unchanged throughout years of service evolution and pricing adjustments. However, recent reports from Bloomberg Law indicate that Apple is now facing a class-action lawsuit over data service issues related to iCloud, alleging that Apple’s iCloud service violates U.S. antitrust laws.

The class-action complaint, made public on March 1st by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accuses Apple of infringing upon the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act. The plaintiffs allege that Apple users are compelled to use iCloud to store certain data from their iPhones and iPads, such as application data and device settings necessary when switching devices. This requirement unlawfully ties Apple’s mobile devices to iCloud, an action that the plaintiffs argue is not necessitated by technical challenges or security concerns, thereby manipulating the competitive landscape of cloud services.

Moreover, the complaint highlights the profitability of iCloud, stating that due to the aforementioned practices, iCloud has secured a dominant position in the cloud service market, holding approximately a 70% market share. This dominance, purportedly unchecked by competition, has made iCloud one of Apple’s most lucrative products. Apple has been able to increase the pricing of iCloud to nearly pure profit margins, a testament to its monopolistic power in the cloud service domain.

The lawsuit, spanning 37 pages, was drafted by the Hagens Berman law firm, with Julianna Felix Gamboa listed as the principal plaintiff. According to 9to5Mac, this law firm has initiated multiple class-action lawsuits against Apple in the past.