Tech

The ‘Cydia’ App Store Is Suing Apple for Monopolistic Practices

By Bill Toulas / December 11, 2020

Cydia, “the original app store for the iOS platform,” is suing Apple, alleging anti-competitive behavior that pushes third-party stores outside the valuable ecosystem. This legal action aims to let developers of tools that compete with those of Apple to operate unobstructed, enjoy a fair treatment, and essentially be allowed to have a shot in the iOS market.

This is exactly what the ‘Coalition for App Fairness’ has been trying to achieve, with its members grown to 45 today. So, Cydia is joining the fight with a lawsuit submitted in the US District Court of California.

Historically, Cydia was the first to offer an app store for iOS, all the way back to February 2008. Apple’s App Store opened in July 2008, five months later. By next year, Cydia had already captured 10% of the entire iOS userbase, receiving praise for its openness, user-friendly GUI, and its app library’s richness.

Cydia continued to this day, but the barred nature of the iOS prevented the tool from staying up to date, forced its creators to rely upon a lot of reverse-engineering and workarounds, and its community gradually waned.

The lawsuit accuses Apple’s monopolistic practices of that, as the company promoted its own App Store while shutting the door to any other app store. This has forced developers to accept a single distribution channel, which also comes with a 30% cut of all in-app purchases going to Apple’s pocket. Thus, this practice is not just unfair against Cydia but also fundamental to the unfairness faced by all iOS app developers.

Cydia has always been useful only to jailbroken devices, which Apple hunts as being illegal anyway. Its creator, Jay Freeman (aka “saurik”), maintains that jailbreaks are vital for iPhone users as they allow them to choose how they’ll use the devices they paid for. He says it’s morally right to allow people to do what they want with their own property and that anything else is just a fabricated prison of smoke and mirrors.

The jailbreaking community has almost thrown the towel today, as it’s a far too complicated and difficult procedure, and those doing it are risking legal prosecution from Apple. In some cases, Apple hired those who made the most popular iOS jailbreaks to help enhance the system’s security. So, essentially, Cydia was left alone like a cane in a dried lake.

If the anti-trust lawsuit succeeds, Cydia will be allowed to work on all iPhones, no longer relying on jailbroken devices, as Apple will be obliged to welcome the tool in the official ecosystem by sharing the needful resources. Cydia is also requesting relief in the form of damage compensation, so they may get a financial boost to aid their entrance.

As for the chances of a vindicating ruling, it is ambiguous at this point. Both sides have valid arguments, so the case will be challenging for the judge to unravel and decide on.



For a better user experience we recommend using a more modern browser. We support the latest version of the following browsers: For a better user experience we recommend using the latest version of the following browsers: