A U.S District Judge, Jeffery White has given a green signal to a lawsuit against Apple filed by AliveCor Inc. The company claims that Apple has “illegally” monopolized the U.S. market for heart rate apps for Apple Watch.
AliveCor’s SmarthRhtym app detects the users’ irregular heartbeats and alerts them to take an ECG, almost similar to the Apple Watch ECG app. Therefore, in May 2021, the developer filed a lawsuit against Apple for changing the heart rate algorithm for Apple Watch to give itself an “unfair competitive edge” over competitors and callously put the lives of AliveCore users at risk. Now, the federal judge has approved the case.
Developer accuses Apple of changing heart rate algorithm to prevent third-party apps from sending users ECG alerts
Agreeing with AliveCor Inc, Judge White ruled that AliveCor Inc. has to prove that the Cupertino tech giant violated federal antitrust law by implementing changes that allegedly give it complete control over the heart-rate apps market.
“AliveCor alleges that Apple made changes to the heart rate algorithm that made it effectively impossible for third parties to inform a user when to take an ECG,” or electrocardiogram, White wrote. “Plaintiff’s allegations plausibly establish that Apple’s conduct was anticompetitive.”
However, Judge White dismissed AliveCor’s claim the tech giant exercised an illegal monopoly over ECG-enabled smartwatches. Reuters reports that:
The Oakland, California-based judge said this was because AliveCor’s KardiaBand wristband, which can record ECGs, “complements but does not compete” in that market.
Denying the allegations, the tech giant said that it was an “uncontroversial proposition that product improvement by itself” and the changes were not in violation of the federal Sherman antitrust law.
In the Netherlands, Apple is facing another complicated litigation with heavy penalties. Recently, the Dutch antitrust authority imposed a $5.5 million fine for the 9th time for allowing alternative payment methods on a dating app.