DOJ files lawsuit against Apple for alleged iPhone monopoly

The United States Department of Justice this morning filed a lawsuit accusing Apple of monopolistic smartphone practices. Apple swiftly countered by arguing that — if successful — such a suit would inhibit its ability to compete in the crowded smartphone market. This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets. We believe this lawsuit is wrong on the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend against it. At the same time, Apple has also been embroiled in lawsuits from Epic Games, challenging its App Store revenue practices.

The United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the tech giant of monopolistic practices in relation to smartphone sales. Joining forces with the federal department are seventeen state attorneys general, making it a massive suit.

“Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws,” stated U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in a release accompanying the news. “If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly.”

The suit, filed on Thursday, points to Apple’s long-standing ecosystem strategy as evidence of anticompetitive behavior. This includes the use of green and blue bubbles to differentiate between iOS and Android users in the Messages app.

The complaint also states, “Rather than responding to competitors with lower prices or better opportunities for developers, Apple has chosen to impose a series of restrictive policies and guidelines in its App Store agreements. These actions have allowed Apple to charge higher fees, hinder innovation, provide a less secure or inferior user experience, and limit competitive alternatives. Apple has used this approach on numerous technologies, products, and services, such as super apps, messaging, smartwatches, and digital wallets.”

The lawsuit goes on to accuse Apple of suppressing competition, stating, “Apple maintains its dominance in the smartphone market not by improving its products, but by discouraging innovation that could pose a threat to its monopoly.”

The focus of the suit is primarily on Apple’s control of the premium smartphone sector.

Apple has swiftly responded to the allegations by stating that, if successful, the lawsuit would impede its ability to compete in the highly competitive smartphone market. In a statement provided to TechCrunch, the company said,

“At Apple, our goal is to constantly innovate and create technology that people love – products that seamlessly integrate, protect user privacy and security, and provide a magical user experience. This lawsuit directly undermines who we are and the values that set Apple products apart in an intensely competitive market. If this suit were to succeed, it would significantly hinder our ability to bring cutting-edge technology to our consumers – where hardware, software, and services intersect. It would also establish a dangerous precedent, allowing the government to heavily influence the design of people’s technology. We firmly believe that this lawsuit lacks factual and legal basis, and we will vigorously defend ourselves against it.”

The suit comes after numerous investigations into Apple’s practices by regulatory bodies around the world, such as the European Union, which has raised concerns about antitrust violations. Apple has also been engaged in ongoing litigation with Epic Games, who have challenged Apple’s App Store revenue policies. The Biden administration has promised to take a more aggressive stance against anticompetitive actions.

Participating in the filing were attorneys general from New Jersey, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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