DOJ and Attorneys General Sue Apple for Smartphone Monopoly

Apple is in difficult situation, facing serious accusations that it's been playing dirty to stay on top of the smartphone game.

by Faruk Imamovic
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DOJ and Attorneys General Sue Apple for Smartphone Monopoly
© Getty Images/Justin Sullivan

Apple is in hot water, facing serious accusations that it's been playing dirty to stay on top of the smartphone game. Instead of making its iPhones better, it's accused of messing with its rivals to keep them down. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and 16 attorneys general laid out their case against Apple last Thursday, claiming the tech giant has been unfairly keeping competition at bay.

The Heart of the Matter

In a legal document filed in New Jersey, the DOJ paints a picture of Apple doing everything in its power to keep its grip tight on the smartphone world. The claim is that Apple hasn't just been out-innovating others; it's been actively working to make life harder for any competition.

From delaying to outright blocking tech from other companies, Apple's tactics have reportedly been all about building an iPhone fortress that's tough for users and developers to leave. The DOJ didn't hold back, saying, "Apple has repeatedly responded to competitive threats by making it harder or more expensive for its users and developers to leave than by making it more attractive for them to stay." This approach is said to have not just protected but strengthened Apple's hold on the smartphone market, potentially squashing fresh ideas and new players.

This isn't the first rodeo for the DOJ taking Apple to court over this kind of behavior, marking their third attempt in 14 years to call out what they see as anti-competitive moves by Apple.

Apple Fights Back

Apple shot back, telling Insider that this lawsuit could mess with its essence — making tech that intersects hardware, software, and services in a way only Apple can.

The company argues that if the lawsuit succeeds, it could stop them from innovating, setting a worrisome trend of government meddling in tech design. "We believe this lawsuit is wrong on the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend against it," says Apple.

The lawsuit details five ways Apple is said to dominate, from holding back cloud-streaming services to making non-Apple smartwatches less useful with iPhones. There's even mention of Apple's top dog, Steve Jobs, in internal emails trying to keep iPhone users from thinking switching to Android is easy.

All these claims pile up to a big question: Is Apple playing fair, or has it crossed a line to keep its crown in the smartphone kingdom?

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