US sues Apple for monopoly and closes siege on its big tech companies

The US government filed a lawsuit against Apple this Thursday, accusing the multinational company of creating a monopoly in the iPhone model smartphone market. The suit, filed in federal court in New Jersey, is the first major antitrust effort by the Biden administration against Apple.

“We argue that Apple strengthened its monopoly power, not by improving its own products, but by making others’ products worse,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference. “Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies are violating antitrust laws,” he added. The action has been ratified by Garland’s department and 16 state attorneys general.

With this lawsuit, the US government will condemn all of its major technology companies, launching antitrust actions against Meta (owner of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp), Amazon, Alphabet (owner of Google and all its services parent company) and Apple itself. It’s his first such initiative in 25 years, after trying to spin Microsoft into several companies over its Windows practices. In this case, he failed to do so, and Bill Gates’ company survived an antitrust lawsuit.

The long-awaited lawsuit comes after years of accusations by critics that Apple has harmed competition with restrictive App Store terms, high fees and a “walled garden” approach to its hardware and software, in which Apple closely monitors how third parties can technological companies. Interact with the tech giant’s products and services.

The Justice Department alleges that Apple used its control over the iPhone to “engage in widespread and sustained illegal activity.” Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that Apple is preventing the successful development of so-called “super apps” that would allow users to switch smartphones more easily. The move sent the company’s shares down nearly 4% this Thursday.

“As any iPhone owner who has ever seen a green text message or received a small, grainy video can attest, Apple’s anticompetitive behavior also includes making it difficult for iPhone users to message users of non-Apple products. Apple said Garland. In a statement released by CNN at the press conference: “It does this by reducing the functionality of its own messaging app and by reducing the functionality of third-party messaging apps.”

“For example, if an iPhone user sends a message to a non-iPhone user through Apple Messages [iMessage], the text appears not only as a green bubble, but also incorporates limited functionality,” added Garland. “The conversation is not encrypted. Videos appear pixelated and grainy, and users can’t edit messages or see dial indicators. “As a result, iPhone users perceive competing smartphones as inferior because the messaging experience with friends and family who don’t have iPhones is worse,” he continued.

The company responded by claiming that this compatibility between its devices is one of its strengths. “At Apple, we innovate every day to create technology that people love: building products that work seamlessly, protect people’s privacy and security, and create magical experiences for our customers. “This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that distinguish Apple products in fiercely competitive markets,” the spokesperson explained in a statement sent to elDiario.es.

“For flowers, [la demanda] This will 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 by giving the government the right to interfere in the design of citizens’ technology,” he added.

Apple was also the company most criticized by the rest of the sector for complying with the new European Digital Market Law (DMA). The goal of the rule, which took effect in March, is to make it harder for digital giants to build these “walled gardens” to trap their customers and torpedo other companies. At the moment, the European Commission has not started an official investigation against him. Fines under the DMA can reach 10% of the annual global turnover of sanctioned companies, rising to 20% if they are repeat offenders.

Source: El Diario

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