Apple accused of monopolizing smartphone markets in US antitrust lawsuit

Apple accused of monopolizing smartphone markets in US antitrust lawsuit

By Reuters

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Department of Justice and 15 states on Thursday sued Apple (AAPL.O) as the government cracks down on Big Tech, alleging the iPhone maker monopolized the smartphone market, hurt smaller rivals and drove up prices.

Apple joins competitors sued by regulators, including Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google, Meta Platforms (META.O) and (AMZN.O) across the administrations of both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

“Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly.”

The Justice Department said that Apple charges as much as $1,599 for an iPhone and makes larger profit than any others in the industry. Officials also said Apple charges various business partners – from software developers to credit card companies and even its rivals such as Google – behind the scenes in ways that ultimately raise prices for consumers and drive up Apple’s profit.

Dating back to its time as a marginal player in the personal computer market, Apple‘s business model has long been based on charging users a premium for technology products where the company dictates nearly all of the details of how the device works and can be used. The Justice Department seeks to unwind that business model by forcing Apple, which has a market value of $2.7 trillion, to offer users more choices around how apps can tap in to the hardware that Apple designs.

Shares of the iPhone maker fell 4.1% to close at $171.37 on Thursday.


Apple denied the allegations made by the government.

“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.”

White House assistant press secretary Michael Kikukawa said: “President Biden strongly supports fair and robust enforcement of the antitrust laws.”