EU sues Apple: accuses it of creating a monopoly in the smartphone market

Reuters

The government of U.S. President Joe Biden filed a lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, alleging that the tech giant has created a monopoly in the smartphone market with its iPhone model.

The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in New Jersey, represents the first major antitrust effort against Apple by the Biden administration.

"Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate antitrust laws," said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement.

"If this does not change, Apple will continue to strengthen its monopoly on smartphones," he added.

In the lawsuit, filed by the Department of Justice and 16 state attorneys general, Apple is accused of having restricted access to the technology it uses for the iPhone in a way that increases costs for consumers and prevents potential rivals from launching other smartphones.

The Department of Justice claims that Apple has used its control over the iPhone to "engage in a type of illegal conduct, broadly and sustained."

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that Apple prevents the successful development of so-called "super apps" that would allow consumers to more easily switch smartphones.

Apple is also accused of blocking the development of streaming applications that would allow users to enjoy high-quality video without having to pay for more cloud space or hardware for the phone to support it.

The case is specifically directed against the digital stronghold that Apple has created not only with the iPhone, but also with other products such as the iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch so that consumers have to depend on these devices and cannot combine them with other products from other companies.

Apple, based in Cupertino (California), denied the allegations and accused the government of having overstepped in its accusations, according to a statement picked up by local media.

"This lawsuit threatens what we are and the principles that differentiate Apple's products in intensely competitive markets," Apple defended itself, assuring that if the lawsuit prospers it will set "a dangerous precedent," giving power to the government to intervene in technology design.

With this lawsuit, Apple joins the list of tech giants against which the Biden government has launched an offensive.

The Department of Justice has already sued Google for monopolizing digital advertising services and the Federal Trade Commission has a pending antitrust case against Facebook's parent company, Meta, and another against Amazon.

Apple is one of the most powerful companies in the world, with annual revenues of nearly $400 billion and, until recently, a market value of more than $3 trillion.