Cydia was released in 2008 by software developer Jay Freeman, as an app store for the iPhone, and an easy way for users to jailbreak their devices and install new software and features.
Freeman entered the software distribution space a few months in advance of Apple's official App Store launch.
However, after Apple launched its official version, Cydia acted as the go-to store for jailbroken iPhones and iPad. This provided a seamless experience for users to install unauthorized software on compatible devices.
The Apple App Store is still the only legitimate way to download apps onto your iPhone and/or iPad, with a directory of over 1.8 million apps and counting, and over 28 million developers globally using the platform to distribute their apps.
Each app is subject to extensive review via the App Store Review team and a long list of requirements developers are obligated to follow.
This business model allows Apple to pocket over $15 billion annually from app sales.
On Thursday, Cydia sued Apple for utilizing anti-competitive methods to ruin the unauthorized app store, prior to the official launch of Apple's App Store, with lawyers claiming Apple has created a monopoly around software distribution on iOS devices.
The lawsuit believes Apple used "coercive" terms to discourage customers from using Cydia and as a result, Cydia's business suffered.
To prove their point further, Cydia believes if Apple did not possess an illegal monopoly over iOS app distribution, customers would have the option to decide where to purchase and download their iOS apps instead of just depend on the Apple App Store.
In other words, there would be alternative stores and distribution methods to choose from.
Apple has responded to the lawsuit by communicating through their spokesperson Fred Sainz, that they do not believe in the existence of this software distribution monopoly because they deal with Android competition.
Moreover, they claim they must keep control over the manner in which apps are downloaded to Apple devices to prevent customers from unintentionally installing viruses or malware onto their iPhones.
Apple says the probability of this happening increases with third-party distributors and the risks of jailbreaking.
Need For Alternative Options
In Freeman's opinion, the risks associated with jailbreaking are overblown and he claims users should have the power to download and do whatever they want with their own phones.
Cydia's lawyer says this is the perfect moment to file an antitrust suit as Cydia has a product that is a direct alternative to Apple's own App Store offering. If Cydia wins, they state they will go back to competing with Apple, except this time leaving the need to jailbreak behind.
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