Is Apple ‘monopolising’ the smartphone market?

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FILE PHOTO: The iPhone 15 Pro is presented during the 'Wonderlust' event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2023. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

Smartphone manufacturer, Apple, has been accused by the United States Justice Department for what has been described as “monopolising the smartphone market and crushing fellow competitors.”

US Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement on Thursday announced that it has filed a landmark lawsuit against the California-based company.

The Justice Department alleged that Apple has used its control of the popular iPhone to illegally limit competitors and consumer options.

The suit also accused Apple of censoring the growth of new apps while holding back consumer appeal from other rival smartphone manufacturers.

This would be the third that Apple has been sued by the US Justice Department since 2009.

“Apple undermines apps, products and services that would otherwise make users less reliant on the iPhone,” Attorney General Garland said at a press conference on Thursday.

“Apple used a series of shapeshifting rules in a bid to thwart innovation and throttle competitors,” Garland added.

He stated that the lawsuit has been filed at the US federal court in New Jersey.

In addition to these allegations, Apple has been accused of making it difficult for users to switch to alternative operating systems.

The US Attorney General told reporters that Apple had deployed “anti-competitive” measures seeking to block apps, limit third-party digital wallets and restricting mobile cloud streaming services.

Furthermore, the US government says Apple has also been limiting the functionality of smartwatches which are not manufactured by the California-based company.

“Apple had maintained its monopoly, not simply by staying ahead of the competition on the merits, but by violating federal antitrust laws”.

“Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies break the law,” Merrick Garland added while accusing Apple of keeping its customers locked in while crowding out other competitors.

“Apple creates barriers that make it extremely difficult and expensive for both users and developers to venture outside the Apple ecosystem,” Garland continued.

But Apple has denied these claims and vowed to “vigorously” challenge the allegations brought against it in court.

Should prosecutors succeed in bringing charges against Apple, the company could be forced to either pay huge fines, alter contracts, or possibly make structural changes within the company, according to the complaint.

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