US Department of Justice attacks nearly every aspect of Apple's business in massive antitrust lawsuit

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Apple

After years of complaints from competitors and an equally lengthy investigation by the antitrust The long-rumored lawsuit against Apple has finally been filed by the US Department of Justice — and he haunts almost every part of the company.

Threats of legal action from the US Department of Justice came after Spotify launched an antitrust investigation into Apple in 2019. Since then, numerous complaints have arisen, prompting the Department of Justice to investigate more thoroughly, but it all ultimately led to an actual lawsuit.

An official statement from the Department of Justice confirmed that it is suing Apple on antitrust grounds. The U.S. lawsuit against Apple addresses a variety of issues regarding the way Apple conducts its business.

“Apple uses its monopoly power to extract more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses and merchants, among others,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement about the lawsuit.

“For years, Apple responded to competitive threats with a series of contractual rules and whack-a-mole restrictions that allowed Apple to extract higher prices from consumers, charge higher fees to developers and creators, and suppress competitive alternatives from competing technologies,” Jonathan Kanter, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, also said.

The Justice Department says Apple violated Part II of the Sherman Antitrust Act in five ways.

  • App Store restrictions apply to “super apps,” which limits the growth of third-party apps.
  • Cloud streaming services are limited by Apple, particularly game streaming services.
  • Eliminating cross-platform messaging apps, forcing people to continue buying iPhones to support messaging.
  • Limiting the functionality of third-party smartwatches manufacturers by restricting access to software. and hardware features.
  • Restrict the use of digital wallets and prevent the use of wireless communications by third parties.

At a press conference to announce the event, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland complained about 30% commissions on the App Store, deteriorating performance of third-party accessories, and relied heavily on Messages as part of the lawsuit. Based on the statement, it's not clear whether the US understands that RCS is coming to Messages, understands the limitations of the SMS standard that Messages uses to connect to non-iPhone devices, or is aware that the App Store fee structure is not a full 30% across the board — and is free for small developers.

The Department of Justice includes the attorneys general of 16 states.

Apple responded almost immediately

Apple has already responded to the lawsuit in a statement for AppleInsider and other sites.

“At Apple, we innovate every day to make people love technology—designing products that work seamlessly together, protect people's privacy and security, and create magical experiences for our users. This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that underpin Apple products. in highly competitive markets.

If successful, it will prevent us from creating the technology people expect from Apple – where hardware, software and services intersect. It would also set a dangerous precedent by giving the government the opportunity to take action as a heavy hand in the development of human technology. We believe this lawsuit is inconsistent with the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend against it.”

Four years of imminent lawsuits

If you watched this story, you know that the Justice Department has been showing promise for some antitrust action since 2019. Some sources have suggested that the trial had been put on hold to see how Apple responded to EU regulation to help shape the U.S. case.

Competitors unhappy with Apple's iPhone dominance

In 2019, Spotify said Apple was “giving itself unfair advantages at every turn” regarding App Store and Apple Music fees. The company also argued that Siri was too private and automatically redirected customers to Apple Music.

Many of the complaints filed by Spotify have since been resolved, although Spotify hasn't done much to actually take advantage of Apple's changes. The company can now send emails to customers, add a link to receive a paid subscription, direct Siri to Spotify by default, and more.

Investigations in early 2020 focused on Apple's 30% commission on in-app purchases and subscriptions. This point was also addressed by Apple in November 2020, when it announced new rules allowing it to charge a 15% fee for developers earning less than $1 million per year or holding subscribers for more than one year.

Epic claims Apple is selectively enforcing App Store rules in 2021, which has drawn the attention of the Justice Department. He noted Roblox and its in-game ecosystem of experiences and monetization through Robux.

In 2022, Tile claimed that Apple's AirTag and Find My ecosystem violated antitrust laws. Apple allows manufacturers like Tile to participate in the Find My ecosystem, but these companies do not gain access to users' location data.

Now the court must decide whether Apple has violated antitrust laws and what to do about it. This process will take years.

United States of America vs. Apple, Mike Wurtele on Scribd

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