Apple faces antitrust suit, claiming its policies harm consumers

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The company denies the charges and say it will fight them in court

The U.S. Justice Department and several states have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, claiming the tech giant is monopolizing the smartphone market.

Specifically, the complaint claims Apple has stifled competition through a number of means, such as highly restrictive app store rules, excessive fees and keeping competitors at bay with its own technology that is not that competitive with products from other brands.

As for Apple, the company denied the charges in the lawsuit and said it would fight them in court.

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

Ironically, when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007 he never envisioned that there would be any competitors. During his announcement, he stressed that the company had nailed down all the patents and that Apple’s product would be unique.

Apple filed suit when Google introduced the Android system but did not prevail in court. Even so, the current suit claims Apple’s dominance in the market is not good for consumers.

The charges

“Apple undermines apps, products, and services that would otherwise make users less reliant on the iPhone,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “Apple exercises its monopoly power to extract more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses, and merchants.”

As an example, the Justice Department said iPhone users are able to send sharp, high-resolution photos and videos to other iPhone, but when the same messages are sent to an Android device they are grainy and take longer to send. When Apple changed how images were sent, the Justice Department said the improvements did not go far enough.

California one of the states filing suit

“Apple’s anticompetitive conduct intentionally leaves consumers bearing the cost of sky-high smartphone prices at a time when smartphones are now essential to so much of our day-to-day lives,” said California Attorney General Ron Bonta, one of the parties to the lawsuit. California’s economy thrives on entrepreneurship, serving as a driving force behind its innovation and growth. Consumers, innovation, and the competitive process — not Apple alone — should decide what options consumers should have.” 

The lawsuit alleges Apple violated Section Two of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prohibits monopolization and attempted monopolization. Monopolization occurs when a single firm maintains a monopoly unlawfully, by using its control of the market to exclude rivals and harm competition. 

The complaint alleges that Apple protects its monopoly by delaying, degrading, or outright blocking technologies that would bring competition by decreasing barriers to switching to another smartphone. 

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