Apple just got Sued by the US Department of Justice

Apple’s been in a lot of crosshairs for a while now – the European Union, Epic, Spotify (not to mention Android users), as its “walled-garden” approach to software and hardware doesn’t seem to be everyone’s cup of tea, to say the least. With that in mind, the United States Department of Justice has just recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against the Cupertino-based tech giant, in what could be one of the biggest cases in the North American tech industry this year.

The lawsuit includes 16 state and district attorneys general, and alleges that Apple’s market strategies in addition to its rampant price hikes for both end users and developers were violations of antitrust regulations. Filed in New Jersey, the lawsuit seeks to overturn Apple’s monopoly on the market, and states that the company’s unfair dominance has prevented competitors from gaining a significant foothold with consumers. A statement from Attorney General Merrick Garland reads:

“Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws… We allege that Apple has maintained monopoly power in the smartphone market, not simply by staying ahead of the competition on the merits, but by violating federal antitrust law. If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly.”

With that said, Apple isn’t the only name in “big tech” to have been targeted by the US government – last year, the DOJ likewise filed a lawsuit against Google alleging illegal monopolistic practices, among others.

In its defense, Apple stated that the lawsuit would stand in the way of the company’s ability to create the kind of technology that its consumers expect, adding that the lawsuit sets a “dangerous precedent” that allows the government to play an unhindered role in “designing people’s technology.” As per Apple’s statement:

“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 who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets.”

Perhaps it’s safe to say that the success of the lawsuit will undoubtedly  impact the North American smartphone market, where Apple reigns supreme. Apple’s closed-off ecosystem and its aggressive marketing campaigns have led to considerable user adoption, allowing the company to lead with a 60% market share in the US alone.

This development follows shortly after the company was required by regulators in the EU to grant users the ability to manually sideload apps, a feature which has been present on Android for more than a decade now. Last year, the company also launched its first-ever USB-C equipped iPhones, in compliance with regulatory guidelines mandated by the EU.

Source: AP News

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Mike Viray