An antitrust lawsuit that AliveCor filed against Apple back in 2021 will not proceed, with the judge overseeing the case today filing a summary judgment in Apple’s favor.
The full ruling is under seal as of now due to confidentiality requests from Apple and AliveCor, but the filing makes it clear that the case went in Apple’s favor and the Cupertino company was not found to have engaged in anticompetitive behavior.
AliveCor claimed that its “SmartRhythm” app that worked with its ECG KardiaBand was targeted several times by Apple for App Store rule violations, and then rendered non-functional with a change to the Apple Watch heart rhythm algorithm in watchOS 5.
When watchOS 5 launched, Apple introduced its heart rate neural network (HRNN) that improved heart rate calculations during workouts. AliveCor claimed that Apple changed the algorithm to impact the KardiaBand, and demanded that Apple continue to support the older, less accurate technology that worked with the SmartRhythm app.
AliveCor argued that the watchOS 5 changes were aimed solely at preventing third-party apps from identifying irregular heart rhythms, and that the update “eliminated competition” and deprived consumers of “choice for heartrate analysis.” AliveCor was seeking damages and an injunction that would require Apple to “cease its abusive conduct” and continue to support the old heart rate algorithm.
Apple argued that AliveCor did not have the right to dictate Apple’s design decisions, and that the request to support the older heart rate technology would require the court to be a day-to-day enforcer of how Apple engineers its products. The court ultimately agreed with Apple.
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