Apple sued again for monopoly behavior
The KardiaBand for the Apple Watch was withdrawn from the market in 2019
When Apple accepted AliveCor’s products for the Apple Watch, the company’s SmartRhythm app was also listed in the App Store. The app worked with the KardiaBand, but Apple soon said it was violating unwritten App Store guidelines. As the plaintiff’s court found: “When AliveCor pushed back, Apple responded by literally rewriting the rules.”
Apple kept calling for changes to the SmartRhythm app, which AliveCor hit every time. But then the tech giant took the ultimate move when it changed its heart rate algorithm for the watch to make sure SmartRhythm and other apps that rival Apple wouldn’t work.
Apple actions are “rotten to the core,” says AliveCor
The court record explains how greed was behind Apple’s actions, which were similar to those of monopolizing other markets. AliveCor said, “But, as has happened several times in other markets over the years, Apple decided not to accept competition on the matter. Almost immediately after AliveCor began selling KardiaBand and its apps, Apple launched one concentrated campaign to solve the problem. ” Heart Rate Monitor market on Apple Watch as the value of controlling such critical health data (and the ability to use it) has apparently been too much of a temptation for Apple. “
AliveCor is pretty tough on Apple, stating, “With a single update, Apple has eliminated the competition that consumers clearly wanted and needed, removing the option of getting a heart rate monitor that is better than what Apple can offer. And all for an incremental increase in value. ” And if that’s not enough, the plaintiff says, “Apple’s anti-competitive behavior was and is rotten to the core.”
AliveCor is demanding damages, triple damages (which is simply three times the damage), legal fees, costs; Interest before and after the judgment at the legally permissible maximum rate; Punitive damages; Injunctive relief, including but not limited to an injunction to exclude Apple’s conduct alleged in the complaint; Declarative relief including, but not limited to, a statement and judgment that Apple’s conduct alleged in the complaint violates the laws alleged in the complaint; and another and further relief which the Tribunal deems right and just.
In contrast to the Epic v. Apple litigation, which is a bank attempt without a jury (the judge makes the final decision), AliveCor is looking for a jury trial.