DOJ Launches Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple

Apple store | Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced an antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Thursday for monopolizing or attempting to monopolize the smartphone market.

The complaint alleges that Apple “illegally maintains a monopoly over smartphones by selectively imposing contractual restrictions on, and withholding critical access points from, developers,” according to a news release from the DOJ.

Exercising a monopolistic power over the smartphone market, the DOJ alleges, Apple purposefully extracts more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses, and merchants.

The tech company “undermines apps, products, and services that would otherwise make users less reliant on the iPhone, promote interoperability, and lower costs for consumers and developers,” the DOJ claims.

According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the antitrust lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, was brought by the DOJ and 16 other state and district attorneys general in an attempt to restore competition to the smartphone markets on behalf of the American people.

“Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws,” Garland said.

“We allege that Apple has maintained monopoly power in the smartphone market, not simply by staying ahead of the competition on the merits, but by violating federal antitrust law,” Garland declared. “If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly.”

“The Justice Department will vigorously enforce antitrust laws that protect consumers from higher prices and fewer choices. That is the Justice Department’s legal obligation and what the American people expect and deserve,” he added.

As the dominant leader in the smartphone space, Apple has been heavily criticized for purportedly overreaching in its control over third-party repair shops and in-app developers.

“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,” Apple said in a statement responding to the suit, per Fox Business.

“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,” the company continued.

“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.

Nonetheless, the DOJ is moving full-steam ahead, according to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

“No matter how powerful, no matter how prominent, no matter how popular — no company is above the law,” Monaco said. “Through today’s action, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to that principle.”

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