US sues Apple over iPhone monopoly

US sues Apple over iPhone monopoly

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

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The US government has filed a lawsuit against Apple over its monopoly in iPhones and smart watches.

The lawsuit highlights the additional costs of tap to pay via an iPhone and the lack of interoperability in messaging as key indicators of monopolistic behaviour. The Department of Justice puts the case as significant as those previously against Standard Oil, AT&T and Microsoft.

The Justice Department, joined by 16 other state and district attorneys general, filed the civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple for monopolization or attempted monopolization of smartphone markets in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act. 

The complaint also covers withholding critical access points from developers over the last decade. Apple has already been sued in Europe over its App Store monopoly and there is digital markets legislation being discussed in the UK next month.

“Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws,” said US Attorney General Merrick Garland. “We allege that Apple has maintained monopoly power in the smartphone market, not simply by staying ahead of the competition on the merits, but by violating federal antitrust law. If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly. The Justice Department will vigorously enforce antitrust laws that protect consumers from higher prices and fewer choices. That is the Justice Department’s legal obligation and what the American people expect and deserve.”

Apple denies the claims. “This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets. If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple where hardware, software, and services intersect,” it said.

“No matter how powerful, no matter how prominent, no matter how popular — no company is above the law,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Through today’s action, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to that principle.”

“When corporations engage in anticompetitive conduct, the American people and our economy suffer,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer. “Today’s action against Apple sends a strong signal to those seeking to box out competitors and stifle innovation — that the Justice Department is committed to using every tool available to advance economic justice and root out anticompetitive practices, wherever they arise.”

“For years, Apple responded to competitive threats by imposing a series of “Whac-A-Mole” contractual rules and restrictions that have allowed Apple to extract higher prices from consumers, impose higher fees on developers and creators, and to throttle competitive alternatives from rival technologies,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s lawsuit seeks to hold Apple accountable and ensure it cannot deploy the same, unlawful playbook in other vital markets.”

The case also covers blocking ‘super apps’ that would make it easier for consumers to switch between competing smartphone platforms as well as blocking the development of cloud-streaming apps and services.

The DoJ has also sued Meta, Google and Intel over monopoly positions and the case against Apple will take many years.;



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