US govt sues Apple over smartphone monopoly – Times of India

by The Technical Blogs


In a landmark move, the US department of justice, alongside fifteen states, has launched a significant antitrust lawsuit against Apple, accusing the tech behemoth of monopolizing the smartphone market. This legal action, marking a robust crackdown on Big Tech, mirrors similar suits faced by industry giants like Google, Meta, and Amazon under the administrations of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Attorney General Merrick Garland voiced concerns over Apple’s business practices, saying, “Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws.” He warned of the growing monopoly Apple holds in the smartphone domain and the potential for it to further entrench its market dominance if unopposed.
Apple is under fire for its pricing strategies, with some iPhone models reaching up to $1,599, contributing to its significant industry profits. The lawsuit also targets the fees Apple imposes on various partners, including software developers and credit card companies, which allegedly inflate consumer costs and boost Apple’s bottom line.
At the core of the government’s grievance is Apple’s long-standing business model, which prioritizes complete control over the hardware and software ecosystem. This model, according to the justice department, stifles competition and limits consumer choice, particularly in how apps interact with Apple’s hardware. The lawsuit aims to dismantle this approach, arguing for more openness and consumer choice in the smartphone market.
Apple’s shares fell by 4.1% following the news, reflecting investor concerns over the potential implications of the lawsuit. The company, however, has strongly denied the allegations, asserting that the lawsuit undermines its foundational principles and could negatively impact its ability to innovate.
The justice department’s lawsuit highlights specific areas where it alleges Apple has stifetched competition, including messaging apps, smartwatches, and digital wallet services. Furthermore, the lawsuit references internal communications from Steve Jobs, suggesting an intention to lock consumers and developers into Apple’s ecosystem.
This legal challenge is not isolated; Apple has faced similar antitrust scrutiny in Europe, Japan, and South Korea, and is also dealing with corporate lawsuits, notably from Epic Games. Additionally, recent developments under the European Union‘s Digital Markets Act have forced Apple to alter its App Store policies, showcasing the growing global pushback against its market practices.
The US lawsuit seeks substantial changes to Apple’s business operations, potentially including a breakup or downsizing of the company. However, some experts, like Professor Michael Santoro of Santa Clara University, question the monopoly allegations, pointing out the competitive nature of the global smartphone market.
(With inputs from agencies)


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