Jailbreak app store Cydia files its own antitrust lawsuit against Apple

A lawsuit claims Apple has 'an illegal monopoly over iOS app distribution.'

Cydia, the original app store for jailbroken iPhones, has joined a wave of companies and regulators in targeting Apple over antitrust concerns. In a lawsuit it filed on Thursday, it accused Apple of "anti-competitive acquisition and maintenance of an illegal monopoly over iOS app distribution."

Were that not the case, Cydia argues, users would "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." Apple rejected accusations it has a monopoly and told Motherboard it would review the lawsuit.

Apple launched the App Store in 2008, the year after Cydia arrived. The unofficial store allows users who jailbreak their iPhone and iPad to download apps and add features that Apple hasn't necessarily approved.

Over time, Apple has made jailbreaking its devices more difficult and Cydia isn't as prominent or popular as it once was. In 2010, Cydia developer Jay "Saurik" Freeman said 4.5 million users were searching the store for apps.

Like the App Store, Cydia took a cut of app sales and revenue peaked at around $10 million in 2011 and 2012, according to the Washington Post. Freeman ended purchases from Cydia's store in 2018.

The suit follows a number of high-profile moves against Apple for similar reasons. Back in August, Epic Games sued Apple over its App Store rules after trying to bypass them. A coalition of companies, including Epic and Spotify, has formed to pressure Apple and Google into changing their app store practices. Apple is also under antitrust scrutiny from regulators in Europe and the US.