Apple faces landmark antitrust suit

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The DOJ was joined by 16 bipartisan state attorneys general in the lawsuit filed in New Jersey, which alleges that Apple limits competition and hurts consumers, developers and small businesses through its operation of the company’s App Store, limiting the functions of third-party smart watches and hurting the quality of cross-platform messaging. 


“For years, Apple responded to competitive threats by imposing a series of ‘Whac-A-Mole’ contractual rules and restrictions that have allowed Apple to extract higher prices from consumers, impose higher fees on developers and creators, and to throttle competitive alternatives from rival technologies,” Jonathan Kanter, DOJ assistant attorney general of the antitrust division, said in a statement.


“Today’s lawsuit seeks to hold Apple accountable and ensure it cannot deploy the same, unlawful playbook in other vital markets,” Kanter added.


Apple defended itself against the allegations and said the lawsuit “threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets.”


“If successful, [this lawsuit] would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple—where hardware, software, and services intersect. It would also set a dangerous precedent, empowering government to take a heavy hand in designing people’s technology. We believe this lawsuit is wrong on the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend against it,” Apple said in a statement. 


The complaint alleges that Apple built a “dominant iPhone platform and ecosystem” and “rather than respond to competitive threats by offering lower smartphone prices to consumers or better monetization for developers” Apple imposed a “series of shapeshifting rules and restrictions” in its App Store, it alleged.


“It has deployed this playbook across many technologies, products, and services, including super apps, text messaging, smartwatches, and digital wallets, among many others,” the complaint states.


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