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Apple sued by DOJ over iPhone monopoly allegations | TechCrunch

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The US Department of Justice filed a complaint this morning accusing Apple of monopolistic practices in smartphones. Seventeen state attorneys general joined the federal department in this massive lawsuit.

“Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate antitrust laws,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement released with the news. “If nothing is challenged, Apple will only strengthen its monopoly on smartphones.”

Thursday’s lawsuit cites long-standing gaming of Apple’s ecosystem as evidence of anticompetitive practices, including the long-standing green/blue bubble binary used by Messages to distinguish iOS users from Android users.

“Rather than responding to competitive threats by offering lower smartphone prices to consumers or better monetization for developers,” the sequel notes, “Apple would address competitive threats by imposing a series of changing rules and restrictions in its App Store guidelines and its agreements with developers that allow Apple to impose higher fees, thwart innovation, provide a less secure or degraded user experience, and limit competing alternatives. It has deployed this guide on many technologies, products and services, including super apps, text messaging, smart watches and digital wallets, among others.

The complaint goes on to accuse Apple of “stifling” competition, adding: “Apple deepens the divide around its smartphone monopoly, not by making its products more attractive to users, but by discouraging innovation that threatens the Apple’s monopoly on smartphones.

Apple quickly responded by arguing that – if successful – such action would hamper its ability to compete in the crowded smartphone market. In a statement provided to TechCrunch, the company notes:

At Apple, we innovate every day to make people love technology: by designing products that work together seamlessly, protect people’s privacy and security, and create a magical experience for our users. This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that distinguish Apple products in fiercely competitive markets. If successful, it would hamper 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, allowing the government to take a heavy hand in the design of popular technology. We believe this lawsuit is erroneous on the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend ourselves against it.

The suit follows international regulatory scrutiny in markets like the European Union, which has targeted the company for antitrust reasons. At the same time, Apple has also been involved in lawsuits from Epic Games, challenging its revenue practices on the App Store. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has promised to take more aggressive action against anticompetitive practices.

The Attorneys General of New Jersey, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon , Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia participated in Thursday’s filing.

Breaking up….

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