US Government Files Lawsuit Against Apple Over Alleged iPhone Monopoly

Thu Mar 21 2024
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WASHINGTON: The US Department of Justice, along with 17 US states, has filed a lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, accusing the tech giant of illegally maintaining a monopoly for its iPhone and imposing excessive costs on consumers.

The lawsuit, which has been expected for some time, marks a significant clash between Apple, founded by Steve Jobs, and Washington, after the company largely avoided US government scrutiny for nearly 50 years.

At the core of the case is Apple’s app store, which the lawsuit alleges imposes strict conditions on firms and developers, making it challenging for consumers to switch to cheaper smartphones and devices.

According to the lawsuit, Apple’s practices are designed to compel users to remain within the Apple ecosystem and purchase the company’s expensive hardware, namely the iPhone.

Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized that consumers should not be subjected to higher prices due to antitrust violations, warning that Apple’s smartphone monopoly could strengthen if left unchecked.

Apple Denies Charges

Apple swiftly denied the charges, stating that the lawsuit is “wrong on the facts and the law,” and vowed to vigorously defend against it. The company also warned that if successful, the suit could set a “dangerous precedent,” granting the government significant influence over technology design.

The lawsuit specifically targets Apple’s practices that hinder innovation and technology advancement, such as preventing the creation of Super Apps and restricting interactions between iPhone and Android users.

Apple’s dominance in various sectors, including messaging apps, web browsers, and entertainment services, is also under scrutiny, with prosecutors alleging anti-competitive behavior.

Despite efforts to diversify revenue streams beyond the iPhone, Apple’s profits remain substantial, with global sales reaching $383 billion and net profit totaling $97 billion in 2023.

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