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The United States Government is Suing Apple Over Illegal iPhone Monopoly

The US Department of Justice is suing Apple for supposedly operating an “illegal monopoly in the smartphone market”. The department has filed a monumental antitrust lawsuit against the iPhone maker which covers various ways Apple has locked down iPhones across hardware and software.

The department accuses Apple of driving up prices for consumers and developers at the expense of making users more reliant on iPhones. Apple has been accused of “selectively” imposing contractual restrictions on developers and preventing them from using the platform in certain ways to prevent competition in the industry.

“Apple exercises its monopoly power to extract more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses, and merchants, among others,”

The Department of Justice highlighted various ways in which the lawsuit tackles Apple’s business practices. Essentially, Apple has been accused of creating a monopoly in the smartphone industry by illegally structuring its devices and software. This covers blocking access to certain apps and features, using first-party accessories, lowering the “quality” of messaging apps between iPhone and Android and more.

  • Disrupting “super apps” that encompass many different programs and could degrade “iOS stickiness” by making it easier for iPhone users to switch to competing devices
  • Blocking cloud-streaming apps for things like video games that would lower the need for more expensive hardware
  • Suppressing the quality of messaging between the iPhone and competing platforms like Android
  • Limiting the functionality of third-party smartwatches with its iPhones and making it harder for Apple Watch users to switch from the iPhone due to compatibility issues
  • Blocking third-party developers from creating competing digital wallets with tap-to-pay functionality for the iPhone

This is not the first time Apple has been called out for its business. The EU recently nailed the company for blocking third-party apps and support on the iPhone. So much so that Apple had to release a unique version of iOS in certain parts of the world which now allow users to download apps outside of the official App Store.

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However, this case is seemingly much bigger and aims to take Apple to task for everything.

“Apple is using its control of app distribution to undermine cross-platform technologies such as super apps and cloud streaming apps, prevent it from using private APIs to undermine crossplatform technologies like messaging, smartwatches, and digital wallets, and keep it from using the terms and conditions of its contracts with developers, accessory makers, consumers, or others to obtain, maintain, extend, or entrench a monopoly.”

The DOJ has filed the case in multiple American states including New Jersey. 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.

It seeks to get relief from the case. This relief will be aimed at Apple’s competition and will help “restore it”. It also demands changes to Apple’s ecosystem across various factors. Apple has moved to get the case dismissed. In a statement, Apple says:

“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 would also set a dangerous precedent, empowering government to take a heavy hand in designing people’s technology. We believe this lawsuit is wrong on the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend against it.”

Source: DOJ

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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