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Apple faces anti-trust, monopoly lawsuit over harmful policies for smartphone consumers

*The United States Department of Justice, and several states in the American country have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, claiming the global technology giant is monopolising the smartphones market, but the company denies the charges, rather pushing to fight them in court

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The United States (US) Department of Justice (DOJ) and several states in the American country have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, claiming the global technology giant is monopolising the smartphones market.

ConsumerConnect reports the complaint, specifically, claims Apple has stifled competition through a number of means, such as highly restrictive app store rules, excessive fees and keeping competitors at bay with its own technology that is not that competitive with products from other brands.

The company, however, has denied the charges in the lawsuit, and said it would fight them in court.

We design products that protect consumers’ privacy, security: Apple

Apple, one of the Big Techs, in a statement, said: “At Apple, we innovate every day to make technology people love – designing products that work seamlessly together, protect people’s privacy and security, and create a magical experience for our users.

It also stated: “This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets.”

It is observed when Steve Jobs, ironically, introduced the iPhone in 2007, he never envisioned that there would be any competitors, a report noted.

During his announcement, he stressed that the company had nailed down all the patents and that Apple’s product would be unique in the smartphone market.

Hitherto, Apple was said to have filed suit when Google introduced the Android system but did not prevail in court.

Meanwhile, the current suit claims Apple’s dominance in the market is not good for consumers, according to report.

The charges, the US Justice Department also remarked in a statement: “Apple undermines apps, products, and services that would otherwise make users less reliant on the iPhone.

“Apple exercises its monopoly power to extract more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses, and merchants.”

For instance, the Justice Department said iPhone users were able to send sharp, high-resolution photos and videos to other iPhones, but when the same messages are sent to an Android device they are grainy and take longer to send.

When Apple changed how images were sent, the Justice Department said the improvements did not go far enough.

Consumers, innovation and competitive process, not Apple, should decide options: Attorney-General

In California, one of the states filing suit, Attorney General Ron Bonta, one of the parties to the lawsuit, stated: “Apple’s anti-competitive conduct intentionally leaves consumers bearing the cost of sky-high smartphone prices at a time when smartphones are now essential to so much of our day-to-day lives.

“California’s economy thrives on entrepreneurship, serving as a driving force behind its innovation and growth.”

Bonta asserted that “consumers, innovation, and the competitive process — not Apple alone — should decide what options consumers should have.”

The lawsuit further alleges Apple violated Section Two of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prohibits monopolisation and attempted monopolisation. Monopolisation occurs when a single firm maintains a monopoly unlawfully, by using its control of the market to exclude rivals and harm competition.

The complaint alleges that Apple protects its monopoly by delaying, degrading, or outright blocking technologies that would bring competition by decreasing barriers to switching to another smartphone.

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