Justice Department files antitrust lawsuit against Apple

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The Department of Justice and more than a dozen states have said so sued Apple in US federal court, accusing the company of violating antitrust laws. It says Apple’s hardware and software are not available to competitors, making it difficult for competitors to compete and for customers to switch to other companies’ products.

The case comes after the European Commission fined Apple €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion) for preventing music producers from “notifying iOS users of alternative and cheaper music subscription services” outside the App Store. And all this while US lawmakers are cracking down on another technology company, TikTok, and very interesting.

The DOJ alleges that Apple used its control over iOS to block advanced software and cloud-based services from the public. (See cloud gaming services, as Google has now gone Stadia and Microsoft xCloud). The suit also alleges that Apple has blocked competitors’ payment methods, made it difficult for Android apps to show up on iPhones and restricted the way competing phones are bundled with iOS devices.

You he can compare Apple’s antitrust suit against Microsoft’s that came against Windows in the late 90’s – even though Attorney General Merrick Garland identified the parties in the suit. But Microsoft honestly leading PC software back then, and more than 90 percent of all PCs have a flavor of Windows.

The DOJ says Apple owns 70 percent of all cell phones, which is already a small number. Go outside the US, which is a bit academic here, and Apple has the same market share as Samsung, with many other smartphone manufacturers racing each other by a margin or two. It doesn’t work the same way Microsoft had it on the PC.

— Matt Smith

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