Apple Watch's heart rate apps stay throned as judge dismisses AliveCor lawsuit

AliveCor says it is deeply disappointed and strongly disagrees with court's decision to dismiss anti-competition case
An undated image of Apple Watch Ultra. — Freepik
An undated image of Apple Watch Ultra. — Freepik

A US judge has dismissed a lawsuit lodged by AliveCor,  a Silicon Valley startup, against Apple, accusing the tech giant of illicitly retaining its monopoly in the US market for heart rate monitoring apps for its Apple Watch.

The ruling has come in favour of the iPhone maker after it filed a case, challenging the legal action taken by AliveCor regarding the hear beat monitoring features installed in the world's best-selling smartwatch.

The US District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California, stated the verdict against AliveCor, which itself had an app for heart beat detection. The company accused Apple of breaking the federal Sherman antitrust law and a California unfair competition law.

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However, the factors at play behind the federal judge's ruling have not been revealed so far due to confidentiality concerns, according to Reuters.

"AliveCor is deeply disappointed and strongly disagrees with the court's decision to dismiss our anti-competition case and we plan to appeal," the company said in a statement.

The allegation also claimed that Apple had modified the heart rate algorithm in its watches to hinder third-party detection of irregular heartbeats and the development of competing apps.

Apple stated that the lawsuit questioned its ability to enhance the Apple Watch, which consumers and developers depend on. "Today's outcome confirms that is not anticompetitive," Apple stated.

In a revised complaint, AliveCor alleged that Apple had indicated it would work together on heart monitoring technology for the Apple Watch, only to then imitate its ideas and initiate a "concentrated campaign to corner the market for heartrate analysis."

AliveCor has created the KardiaBand, a wristband designed for the Apple Watch that can record an electrocardiogram (ECG). The company, located in Mountain View, California, has also produced the Kardia app for interpreting ECG readings on Apple Watches, as well as a SmartRhythm app for analysing heart rate with the help of artificial intelligence. 

The Cupertino-based tech giant has refuted any allegations of misconduct and stated that its design choices should not be dictated by competitors.