Original Jailbreak App Store Cydia Sues Apple for its Monopoly

The first-ever iPhone app store argues that Apple has a monopoly on distributing apps by not allowing third-party app stores on its operating system.
Image: renatomitra/Flickr

The iPhone's original—and unofficial—app store has sued Apple, accusing the company of having a monopoly on the distribution of apps.

Cydia, an app store created and launched in 2007 by Jay "Saurik" Freeman, one of the original jailbreakers filed the lawsuit against Apple on Thursday. 

“Were it not for Apple’s anti competitive acquisition and maintenance of an illegal monopoly over iOS app distribution, users today would actually be able to choose how and where to locate and obtain iOS apps, and developers would be able to use the iOS app distributor of their choice,” the lawsuit reads. 


The lawsuit was first reported by The Washington Post

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Before Apple created the App Store, Freeman and a group of iPhone hackers created an unofficial app store where users that were willing to jailbreak—a technique to exploit one or more bug to disable the iPhone security mechanism called code-signing enforcement that allows for only Apple-approved code to run on the phone—could download and install apps. In 2010, according to Freeman, Cydia had around 4.5 million users. 

The Life, Death, and Legacy of iPhone Jailbreaking

Once Apple launched the App Store, and made jailbreaking increasingly harder, Cydia lost its prominence and became a niche market for the few still willing to go through several hoops and jailbreak their iPhone. 

Cydia's lawyers, who work for the Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan Law firm, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple said that it will review the lawsuit and denied having a monopoly.

The lawsuit comes four months after Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, sued Apple, accusing the company of anti-competitive practices for not allowing users to purchase games directly from developers, and effectively forcing a 30% fee on all purchases. That lawsuit quickly escalated into a full-on PR war with Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store and Epic Games releasing a ridiculous video based on the famous 1984 Macintosh commercial.