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U.S. Justice Department sues Apple for its monopolization

2024.04.10 01:48:40 Doyeon Kim
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[A photo shows an image of iPhone, a product from Apple Inc. Photo Credit to Pixabay]

Apple Inc. has been accused of violating federal antitrust law and was sued by the U.S. Justice Department on March 21st, 2024.


This marks the third time that Apple has received legal action from the US government and Apple has received the last legal action in 2009.


The U.S. Justice Department alleges that Apple's monopolization of the smartphone market has discouraged innovation, dissuading other companies from inventing innovative products.


Specifically, the Justice Department revealed that the iPhone app store had “locked in” its customers and developers by allowing only certain applications to be seen on the app stores.


The Department stated that blocking certain apps that are considered threats is illegal as it prevents consumers from freely choosing the products they want.


Furthermore, Apple has been accused of presenting rival products that appear less appealing, strategically hindering consumers from switching to other products, which is also deemed as illegal.


Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner, mentioned that Apple’s strategic exclusion is hurting many startup businesses, stakeholders, customers, and even shareholders.


Attorney General Merrick Garlack stated that Apple has maintained its monopoly power and dominance in the field of smartphones by violating federal antitrust law.


The complaints filed against Apple focused on five different areas.


Firstly, the US stated that Apple has strategically manipulated the app review process where it filtered certain reviews of applications such as super apps and streaming apps as Apple was worried that customers might make a shift to other apps.


Secondly, Apple has been accused of making its products such as smart watches difficult to connect to other products other than Apple’s products; this would lead customers to buy all Apple products to make Bluetooth function much easier.


Thirdly, the US asserts that Apple has introduced Apple Pay transactions for iPhone users and blocked banks and other financial firms from accessing its tap-to-pay technology: this led Apple to earn billions of dollars as all Apple users had to use Apple Pay transactions.


Fourthly, Apple purportedly differentiated messages sent from rival phones by displaying them in green bubbles while messages sent from Apple were displayed in blue bubbles.


Lastly, the US argued that Apple’s certain features limited videos, emojis, and other features to be limited in other technologies where “social stigma” was created for people to stick to Apple to socialize smoothly with other people.


However, Apple has denied violating any sections of antitrust law and revealed that it will fight “vigorously” to present itself as innocent.


Following the introduction of this news, the shares of Apple had fallen by more than 4% and the government could have led the company to break up if the government won this case.


This could tremendously impact Apple as it would have to amend its current contracts and practices, making many works to be devoted.


Notably, Apple was fined Euro 1.8 billion by the EU last month as it broke the competition laws over music streaming.


Thus, it is not the first time Apple abused its dominant position in the market.


This lawsuit towards Apple has raised concerns for major tech giants such as Google, Meta, and Amazon to become nervous as they can also face similar lawsuits from the government.


Doyeon Kim / Grade 11
Cornerstone Collegiate Academy of Seoul