US govt sues Apple on monopoly charges, Apple says govt wants iPhone to turn into Android: Story in 5 points

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The US government has sued Apple for an alleged “broad, sustained, and illegal” monopoly in the smartphone market. The lawsuit also questions the Cupertino giant’s “exclusionary behaviour” when it comes to both its hardware and software.

The US Department of justice (DoJ) has filed a lawsuit against Apple and accused it of “broad, sustained, and illegal” monopoly in the smartphone market. The DoJ claims that Apple has hindered competition by limiting access to its software and hardware. Apple, on the other hand, argues that the “lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart”. The lawsuit aims to bring about alterations in Apple’s practices. Here is a complete lowdown on the lawsuit in 5 points:

-The lawsuit specifically questions the functionality of iMessage and the interconnectivity of Apple products like the iPhone and Apple Watch. The complaint states that the case aims to “free smartphone markets” from Apple’s anticompetitive behaviour, contending that the company has impeded innovation to maintain its market dominance. “Apple has maintained its power not because of its superiority, but because of its unlawful exclusionary behaviour,” The Guardian reported a US attorney general saying.

-Apple has responded to the DoJ complaint saying that the US government just wants the iPhone to turn into Android, and that the lawsuit is “wrong on the facts and the law”. It says that changing Apple practices will come in the way of the kind of services and technology it is able to provide to its consumers right now. “It would also set dangerous precedent,” says Apple.

“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,” Apple said in a statement.

-The lawsuit questions whether Apple’s policy of denying rivals access to its proprietary features like iMessage and Siri constitutes anticompetitive behaviour. It also probes into whether Apple’s device integration strategy creates unfair hardware limitations, blocking market entry for competitors. The Department of Justice’s complaint accuses Apple of anticompetitive actions such as blocking innovative apps, reducing non-Apple smartwatch functionality, restricting third-party digital wallets, and impeding cross-platform messaging. These practices allegedly inflate consumer prices by stifling competition, forming the core arguments in the case against Apple’s market dominance and antitrust violations.

“Apple creates barriers and makes it extremely difficult and expensive for both users and developers to venture outside the Apple ecosystem,” the US attorney general said.

-The lawsuit aims to implement various modifications in Apple’s operational protocols. The DoJ seeks to prevent Apple from leveraging its app store and private APIs to impede the dissemination of cross-platform technologies. Apple may also have to pay a hefty fine at the end of this.

-Since around 2019, the US government has been investigating Apple for potential antitrust violations amid broader scrutiny of big tech. This scrutiny has resulted in some huge cases like Google’s search engine case in 2023, as well as antitrust suits from the Federal Trade Commission against Meta and Amazon. Meanwhile, Apple is also facing legal issues in Europe, where regulators have fined Apple close to $2 billion for anti-competitive practices.

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