The Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) has today certified opt-out collective proceedings brought on behalf of millions of iPhone users against the Apple corporate group. The Class Representative, consumer champion Justin Gutmann, alleges in summary that Apple abused a dominant position in the way it introduced software updates for approximately 34 million iPhones. These updates were designed to reduce the rates of “unexpected power offs” experienced by users. It is alleged that Apple concealed from users that the updates considerably slowed down the iPhones in certain circumstances. The claim is estimated to be worth at least £853 million and follows similar class actions and regulatory proceedings brought against Apple around the world.
The CAT’s unanimous judgment concludes that Mr Gutmann has a realistic prospect in making good his case at trial and that the claims should be certified (subject to the resolution of any funding issues arising from the Supreme Court’s judgment in PACCAR). In reaching this conclusion, the CAT dismissed Apple’s strike out and summary judgment applications concerning the evidential basis for the claim and the period following an Apple apology published in December 2017, challenges to Mr Gutmann’s methodology for assessing loss, and a challenge to the suitability of Mr Gutmann to bring the claim.