The maker of the Coronavirus Reporter app has sued Apple for rejecting it from the Apple Store, reports AppleInsider. The suit accuses Apple of violating the Sherman Act, which prohibits monopolisation.
Near the start of the year Apple instituted a policy whereby COVID warning apps would be allowed only if they were created by "recognised entities such as government organisations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions". But the lawsuit, filed in New Hampshire, claims Apple was in fact acting to create a monopoly for contact tracing apps.
According to the company's own statements, the app was developed by health experts and computer scientists in February 2020 "to capture and obtain critical biostatistical and epidemiological data as it happened". Apple refused to allow it on the App Store on the grounds that it did not come from a health organisation and that "user-generated data has not been vetted for accuracy by a reputable source."
According to the lawsuit, however, a month later, Apple approved an app that works in a similar way.
Apple spent much of 2020 being attacked for its relationship with app developer partners and accused of wielding too much power. The boss of Spotify said Apple's platform was not yet "open and fair", and barely a month went by without some update on Apple's dispute with Epic Games - which is still ongoing.
But this is the first time anyone has made similar claims with reference to the company's approach to the coronavirus pandemic, which has been generally applauded.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.