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DOJ takes Apple to court over smartphone monopoly

Apple is not ‘making its own products better,’ says Attorney General Merrick Garland, but ‘other products worse’

The U.S. Department of Justice and 16 state and district attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the tech giant of monopolizing the smartphone market. The antitrust lawsuit alleges that the walls the company has built up around its products in the name of user-friendly harmony hardware and software has prevented competition and driven up prices for consumers and developers.

Specific complaints lobbied against Apple include issuing contractual restrictions and fees that limit the features and functionality that developers can offer iPhone users and selectively restricting access to the points of connection between third-party apps and the iPhone’s operating system, which the DOJ argues degrades the functionality of non-Apple apps and accessories. “We allege that Apple has consolidated its monopoly power not by making its own products better — but by making other products worse,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press statement.

Apple, however, said in a statement that the lawsuit “set[s] a dangerous precedent” and threatens to “hinder [its] ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple — where hardware, software, and services intersect.”

“This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets,” the statement continued.

In response to similar accusations in the European Union (EU), Apple announced sweeping changes in the iOS 17.4 update in January, making its operating system more open to comply with EU regulations and the Digital Markets Act, as well as allow for alternative browser engines and contactless payments.

The U.S. case is part of the Biden administration’s going antitrust efforts, which includes additional lawsuits against Google and Amazon that argue the pair engage in illegal tactics to hinder competition. The administration has also attempted, unsuccessfully, to block recent acquisitions by Microsoft and Meta Platforms.


Catherine Sbeglia Nin
Catherine Sbeglia Nin
Catherine is the Managing Editor for RCR Wireless News and Enterprise IoT Insights, where she covers topics such as Wi-Fi, network infrastructure and edge computing. She also hosts Arden Media's podcast Well, technically... After studying English and Film & Media Studies at The University of Rochester, she moved to Madison, WI. Having already lived on both coasts, she thought she’d give the middle a try. So far, she likes it very much.