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The US government accuses Apple of monopoly

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar21,2024

US government accuses Apple of monopoly< /p>Open in full screen mode

According to the US Department of Justice, Apple is violating the laws through practices likely to keep its customers captive to the iPhone.

Agence France-Presse

The American government sued Apple on Thursday for monopolistic practices linked to the iPhone and the constraints set by the Californian group on application developers.

All the decisions taken by Apple have established and strengthened the defenses protecting its monopoly in the field of smartphones, argues the American government, which joined forces with prosecutors from fifteen states and that of the federal capital Washington to seize New Jersey Federal Civil Court.

If this situation is not called into question, Apple will continue to solidify its monopoly on smartphones, predicted Attorney General Merrick Garland during a press conference.

According to the Department of Justice, the Cupertino (California) group prevented or disrupted the creation and offering of services capable of being used on competing smartphones and easily switch between them.

He talks about streaming services on the iPhone, but also digital wallets that can be used on multiple platforms.

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Apple has also hinders the development of messaging services that can be used across multiple media.

Merrick Garland thus emphasized that on Apple's messaging system, iMessage, conversations with smartphones from other brands were not encrypted, unlike exchanges between two iPhones, and the technical capabilities were limited.

From then on, he explained, iPhone users felt that competing smartphones are of less good quality […] even though Apple is responsible for these degraded functionalities.

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United States Attorney General Merrick Garland (File photo)

The government claimed to have relied on internal documents demonstrating that the company had knowingly acted to exclude competition and innovations that would have threatened its economic model.

The government also accuses Apple of having voluntarily prevented the use of its connected watches with devices other than the iPhone, or of dissuading the creation of a super app, which would bring together multiple services on the same platform.

Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate competition laws.

A quote from Merrick Garland, Attorney General of the United States

This legal action threatens who we are and the principles that distinguish Apple products in a fiercely competitive market, the company responded in a statement sent to AFP.

If the procedure results in a decision binding on Apple, it would set a dangerous precedent, allowing the government to weigh heavily in the design of consumer technology, the company said.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook (Stock photo)

Apple has been accused for several years of imposing draconian conditions on companies that offer services on the iPhone and of preventing them in particular from creating their own application store to directly monetize their content.

The European Digital Markets Regulation (DMA), which came into force in mid-March, requires six of the largest technology companies, including Apple, to open their platforms to competition.

In response to this text, Apple said it would soon allow its users in the European Union to download applications directly from websites.

In September 2021, a federal judge in Oakland (California), seized by the video game publisher Epic Games, urged Apple to no longer prevent third-party companies from using their own system payment.

The Apple brand proposed an alternative option authorizing these external purchases, but providing that it would continue to charge a commission of 12 to 27% on each transaction, compared to 30% on the App Store, a formula denounced by many major digital players.

The action announced Thursday is a new example of the all-out offensive led by the Biden government against what he considers to be anti-competitive practices, in the technology sector, but also beyond.

He is notably engaged in a lawsuit against Google, accused of maintaining a monopoly on the search engine market.

After a first part which lasted several weeks at the end of 2023, The hearing is expected to resume in the spring for oral arguments, with a decision expected by the end of the year.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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