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US is suing Apple for all the reasons you hate Apple

Apple is being sued for making it difficult to switch phones, for green bubbles, for the Apple Watch, and more.
By

Published onMarch 21, 2024

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TL;DR
  • The US Department of Justice is suing Apple for violating antitrust laws by blocking rivals from its devices.
  • Apple is accused of disrupting super apps that would make it easier to switch from iPhones, suppressing the messaging experience with Android, limiting smartwatch functions to the Apple Watch, and more.

Apple has been in the eye of the storm in several anti-competition suits and regulations worldwide, with the major ones being in the EU. The company had to make some significant changes to iOS to comply with the requirements arising from these suits and regulations, such as opening up iOS to third-party app stores. In another blow to the company, the US Department of Justice is suing Apple for violating antitrust laws by blocking rivals from its devices.

The Verge reports that the US Department of Justice has completed its five-year-long probe into Apple’s business and concluded that Apple used its power over app distribution on the iPhone to thwart innovations that would have made it easier for consumers to switch phones. Apple refused to support cross-platform messaging apps, limited third-party digital wallets and non-Apple smartwatches and blocked mobile cloud streaming services.

The suit highlights five primary spheres of technology where Apple is said to suppress competition. They are:

  • Disrupting “super apps” which would have made it easier for iPhone users to switch to competing devices.
  • Blocking cloud-streaming game apps.
  • Suppressing the quality of messaging between iPhone and competing platforms, namely Android.
  • Limiting the functionality of non-Apple smartwatches with its iPhones and making it harder for Apple Watch users to switch from the iPhone.
  • Blocking third-party developers from creating competing digital wallets with tap-to-pay functionality for the iPhone.

However, note that Apple recently added support for cloud-based gaming services, while RCS support is on its way to iOS this year.

You can check out the court case document here.

Apple shared the following statement with MacRumors:

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. This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets. If successful, it 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 is fresh out of a €1.8 billion ($2 billion) fine from the European Commission for shutting out rival music services on the iPhone. The EU’s Digital Markets Act is also forcing the company to allow European users to download iPhone apps from the web, allow third-party app stores, and allow developers to offer discounts to customers outside the Apple App Store. In response, Apple has changed the way it charges fees, with a contentious Core Technology Fee that has raised many eyebrows.

Thanks to these suits and regulations, do you think Apple will change how its products fundamentally operate? Let us know in the comments below!

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