apple / pixabay

On Thursday (today), the US government filed a landmark anti-trust lawsuit against Apple – one of the world’s richest companies – accusing it of abusing its power as a monopoly and stopping smaller companies from accessing hardware and software such as the iMessage, among other things.  

The lawsuit, filed in New Jersey, US, states that Apple uses its control over the iPhone to “engage in a broad, sustained, and illegal course of conduct.”  

For instance, the case is set to investigate whether Apple is facilitating seamless integration among its devices, such as the iPhone and Apple watch, while limiting compatibility with other non-Apple products.

This claim alleges that customers have limited options on the table and therefore would have to opt for multiple Apple products.

American news portal NPR stated that the Justice Department had alleged that “it’s no coincidence that Apple was able to ensure its place at the top.”

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated that Consumers shouldn’t have to pay higher prices “because companies violate antitrust laws.”

“If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly,” he continued.

In addition, the Justice Department stated that because Apple mandates contract restrictions on developers, new technology and innovation is kept within Apple’s ecosystem.

According to the department, because of such restrictions, Apple blocked innovation in other apps with broad functionality while also ensuring that its iMessage system kept other people from using cross-platform messaging apps.

Last November, Apple agreed to adopt a smoother texting experiencing between iPhones and Android devices. While the iMessage feature will be kept strictly for iPhone and Apple users, it will be introducing other features such as read receipts (knowing when the message receiver has seen the text).  

Along with the iMessage systems, that allows iPhone users to communicate with each other for free through the internet, the case alleges that Apple has affected streaming services for video games, non-Apple smartwatches, and third-party digital wallets such as Google wallet.

Moreover, the Justice Department has highlighted that this continues to allow Apple to take more money from consumers, developers, content creators, publishers, and small businesses, among others.

According to The Guardian, the Justice Department had been investigating breaches since 2019 following of its efforts into investigating big tech firms’ anticompetitive practices.

It’s worth nothing that this isn’t the first time Apple has been warned about its alleged anticompetition breaches. So much so that, the European Commission handed the company a €1.84 billion fine, 0.5 per cent of Apple’s global turnover.

This marks the EU’s third biggest fine to date. In 2018 Google was fined €4.32 billion, and in the year prior Google Search was handed a €2.42 billion fine.

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