April 13, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Apple is being sued by the Biden administration over alleged iPhone “monopoly power.”

Apple is being sued by the Biden administration over alleged iPhone “monopoly power.”

The US Department of Justice filed a landmark lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, accusing it of monopolizing the smartphone market.

The civil lawsuit, joined by 16 state and county attorneys general, accuses Apple of restricting its smartphone operating system in a way that increases costs for consumers and prevents developers from successfully launching products on other smartphone platforms.

“Consumers should not pay higher prices because companies violate antitrust laws,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press release.

Among the lawsuit's allegations:

  • Apple is blocking the successful deployment of what the Justice Department calls “super apps” that would make it easier for consumers to switch between smartphone platforms.
  • Apple is preventing the development of cloud streaming applications that would allow playing high-quality video games without having to pay for additional hardware.
  • Apple blocks the development of cross-platform messaging apps so customers have to keep buying iPhones.

“If Apple is left unchallenged, it will continue to consolidate its smartphone monopoly,” Garland added. “The Department of Justice will vigorously enforce antitrust laws that protect consumers from higher prices and fewer choices. This is the Department of Justice's legal obligation and what the American people expect and deserve.”

In a statement, Apple denied these allegations and accused the government of overreach.

“At Apple, we innovate every day to make technology people love, designing products that work seamlessly together, protect people's privacy and security, and create a magical experience for our users. This lawsuit threatens our identity and principles,” the company said. Which differentiates Apple products in highly competitive markets. If successful, it will 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, by enabling the government to take a strong hand in the design of human technology. We believe this lawsuit is wrong on both the facts and the law, and we will defend it vigorously.”

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The case is part of President Joe Biden's broader antitrust campaign against Big Tech companies. The US Department of Justice is Already suing Google To monopolize digital advertising services, while the Federal Trade Commission has The antitrust case is long-standing Pending review against Meta, Facebook's parent company, as well Latest against Amazon. And in December The Federal Trade Commission sought the ban Microsoft's now-closed acquisition of game maker Activision.

The lawsuit against Apple marks the third attempt by a prosecutor to go after the Cupertino, California-based tech giant, but the first to challenge Apple on such a broad basis.

“This clearly escalates the Biden administration's antitrust efforts against Big Tech giants and adds to the existing ongoing antitrust case against Google and various other cases against Meta and Amazon,” said Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity research analyst at Wedbush Securities. Investor note.

The complaint goes on to allege that Apple's monopoly also extends to web browsers, video communications, news and entertainment subscriptions, car services, advertising, location services, and more.

“For years, Apple has 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, charge developers and creators higher fees, and stifle competitive alternatives from consumers,” the assistant plaintiff said. General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division: “Competing Technologies.” “Today’s lawsuit seeks to hold Apple accountable and ensure it cannot spread the same illegal playbook to other vital markets.”

Earlier this month, the European Union fined Apple $2 billion for restricting competition for music streaming services in the App Store. Apple said it would appeal.

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The full lawsuit is below.