TECH

Apple will crush DOJ in court if Garland sticks to outdated arguments

Tim Cook will win the DOJ lawsuit if the arguments remain terrible

Large-scale antimonopoly lawsuit by the Ministry Justice against Apple is based on old information. Merrick Garland and company will lose big if they rely on arguments in which virtually every claim made is no longer true.

When a federal lawsuit makes a ridiculous claim that is possibly the dumbest thing we've ever heard about Apple and we're going to share it with you, you know it's going to be huge, start wrapping it up.

“To protect your monopoly on smartphones — and the exceptional profits that the monopoly generates — Apple repeatedly chooses to make its products worse for consumers to prevent competition.”

You would think that since the DOJ's lawsuit was years in the making and its concerns were no secret, this statement might have been redacted because who -on the way I noticed his obvious madness.

Anyway, despite all this, and while the DOJ was creating this literary brilliance, Apple had been fighting with the DOJ for years over “extraordinary profits” and other antitrust issues. Apparently Apple knew what they were asking.

In retrospect, Apple acted specifically to counter the criticism it knew was coming.

As a result, Apple has already addressed almost all of the Justice Department's comments made on Thursday.

Let's start by looking at Attorney General Merrick Garland's views on “The Messages.” He is clearly not up to date with the news and doesn't know who is responsible for the poor quality of messaging between Android users and iPhone owners due to SMS/MMS.

Messages, SMS and RCS

One part that may was simply wrong even before Apple took any corrective action regarding messaging. The Department of Justice alleges that Apple forced people to buy iPhones in order to send people messages.

To be generous to the DOJ, it's probably thinking about Apple's own iMessage and how its capabilities are limited to Apple devices and Apple users. But Apple has already announced — in 2023 — that it will add support for RCS message users to interact with iMessage users.

The Department of Justice appears to be unclear on this issue. Instead, he openly criticizes messaging apps.

“Apple makes third-party messaging apps on the iPhone inferior overall and compared to Apple Messages, Apple's own messaging app, by preventing third-party apps from sending or receiving messages from the carrier,” the lawsuit states. . . “By doing so, Apple is knowingly and intentionally degrading the quality, privacy and security of its users and others who do not own an iPhone.”

This is just nonsense. Almost every messaging service available has an iPhone app, and none of them have a user base limited to Apple.

Almost everything is the other way around. The most popular messaging service in the world is WhatsApp. It wouldn't have the same user base without Apple and the iPhone.

The poor quality of images and videos shared between Android and iPhone users, as discussed at press conferences, is not related to anything Apple is doing. SMS/MMS is at the core of this and is relatively archaic.

Apple has nothing to do with the SMS standard. The adoption of the RCS later in 2024 will cover absolutely all the points made by the Ministry of Justice.

We are expecting a lawsuit from the Department of Justice against telecom operators for allowing SMS to be stored.

Apple Closed Ecosystem

According to the Justice Department, Apple violates Sherman Section 2 antitrust laws that restrict third parties' access to hardware and software features that only they can use. The Justice Department is referring in particular to restrictions on digital wallets and how Apple allegedly denies rival firms access to the iPhone's near-field communications (NFC) hardware.

However, Apple brought NFC capabilities to the iPhone by introducing the Tap to Pay feature on the iPhone.

Since its launch two years ago, companies around the world have switched to it instead of maintaining their own separate hardware.

The Justice Department says there is a similar problem with the Apple Watch, which has benefits over the iPhone. According to a new lawsuit, Rival smartwatches have limited access to software and hardware features.

Apple Watch Series 9 on the back

This is harder to keep track of since Android watches work best with Android phones too. Additionally, while it may not have been successful, Apple opened up its GymKit technology so that the Apple Watch's health features could work with Peloton exercise machines.

There is no legal requirement anywhere that Apple create apps to help integrate smartwatches with third parties. This is a matter for integrators. Key integrators, Google and Samsung, decided not to do this for reasons known only to themselves.

Additionally, the DOJ's language appears less factual and more biased toward personal preference.

“Apple has denied users access to high-performance smartwatches with preferred styles, improved user interfaces and services, or better batteries,” it said.

There are reasons why the Apple Watch is the most successful smartwatch, and it has nothing to do with Apple denying users anything. In 2022, the iPhone accounted for about half of the U.S. smartphone market, and today it accounts for about 62%. It might even have Garland's bogus “70% of the productivity smartphone market,” whatever that means.

Apple tried to make the Apple Watch compatible with Android, but chose not to, and that's its right. AppleInsider confirmed that the company had been trying to make it work for years, but didn't want to compromise the product in the process.

Garland's incredibly specific statement about the smartphone industry, like Epic's definition before him, is to meet a general legal standard of about 70% or higher to constitute a monopoly. If you use a common-sense market definition of all smartphone users, that means almost as many Android users could enjoy “better user experiences.”

Applications and games

“Cloud streaming games…can improve smartphone competition by reducing the importance of expensive hardware to perform complex computing tasks on a smartphone,” the DOJ says. “Suppressing cloud game streaming harms users by preventing them from playing games.” computationally intensive games, and also harms developers by preventing them from selling those games to users.”

The DOJ makes an excellent point here, except that it apparently has researched this section for some time. time ago. Apple refused to allow cloud streaming, but whether it's as important as the DOJ says or not, that's no longer the case.

Just a month ago, Apple said it was changing its approach to work with game streaming apps. It used to be possible, but Apple had to check every piece of content being streamed.

In the version released two months ago, game streaming services can have a single app, as it should have been .

So, it is unclear what data the Department of Justice relied on in its complaint about this — but this, of course, is not relevant.

Super apps

Of the Justice Department's main criticisms of Apple, only one may still be controversial. The question is whether Apple bans super apps, which the Justice Department defines as apps that “provide a user with broad functionality in a single app.”

The most famous example of a super application is the Chinese WeChat. It is the dominant app in this country and an extremely popular combination of social networking, payment, sales and messaging services.

The only reason this is the most famous example is because, like many other platforms, it is installed on the iPhone. And rather than trying to block it somehow, Apple actually has its own WeChat store.

Facebook/Meta's presence on the iPhone is also clearly a super app. It also has social media, payment, sales and messaging services all in one place.

This confuses us. There is no ban on “super apps”, and it is a fairly vague term that doesn’t mean anything at all.

This is just the beginning, there is so much more to come

The same thing that took years to get to this point, it will take years to develop and come to a conclusion. And it can die on the vine.

This didn't start under the Biden administration, it started in the final years of the Trump administration. However, this is only the basis of what the Biden administration has promised to do first in the technology sector.

And all this will take years, and political winds may change. It may not survive the Trump administration and could easily survive Biden's second term.

In addition to political issues, we have already had several conversations with antitrust lawyers in Washington. They all told us two things.

First, they will have to prove that harm was caused to the consumer, and this will be very difficult. Other smartphone makers have seen similar increases in hardware and service prices due to supply chain issues and the events of the past four years — so there is no real basis here.

It will be impossible to prove harm to a consumer on a $1,600 iPhone if Android vendors have devices that cost much more.

Second, the Department of Justice will have to change its position that developers have the right to be free on Apple platforms. They don't, just like Target products don't have a right to be on WalMart shelves, Tesla doesn't have a right to be in Ford dealerships, and the like.

The US Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that companies and businesses are free to choose with whom to do business — and the prices, terms and conditions of any transactions. The Ministry of Justice probably knows about this.

Pending Lawsuit

It's likely that the threat of DOJ investigations is what forced Apple to improve what it had improved or change what it had changed. In this case, the investigation was worth it.

The suit itself in its current form simply does not exist. Bringing up an email and leading a lawsuit with an email exchange with a deceased CEO that happened over a decade ago when Apple was not even close to dominance and was struggling with larger and more established competitors is devoid of context and has no bearing on Apple in 2024.

Rather than fighting Apple's alleged practice of somehow deciding to “make its products worse for consumers to prevent competition,” as we are doing, the lawsuit has nothing more to do.

“The court's role is not to review indefinitely the quality of the algorithms that Apple develops for use by each individual third-party developer to ensure that the quality never deteriorates for any purpose,” the court said in AliveCor v. Apple. “Such an order could restrict competition by discouraging companies from improving products that benefit consumers as a whole, to the detriment of certain parties who prefer the status quo.”

As of today, based on the arguments outlined in the lawsuit, the Justice Department will lose, and lose big. The real loss to consumers that will be clear and obvious is the huge cost to taxpayers that will be set on fire and passed on to the lawyers in this case.

And when it loses face, as well as business, the Department of Justice will, of course, appeal and needlessly cost the taxpayer even more money. If the Justice Department wants to pray for a win in a lawsuit, it needs people to become better versed in technology complaints and provide legal advocacy in court.

And perhaps follow the news.

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