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Landmark monopoly lawsuit filed vs Apple

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The US Department of Justice sued Apple on Thursday, accusing the tech giant of illegally maintaining a monopoly for its iPhone by stifling competition and imposing exorbitant costs on consumers.

The lawsuit, also brought by multiple US states, said Apple raked in hundreds of billions of dollars by allegedly making it difficult for consumers to switch to cheaper smartphones and devices.

The long anticipated case against Apple sees the company founded by Steve Jobs in 1976 clash with Washington after largely escaping US government scrutiny for nearly a half century.

It joins Amazon, Google and Facebook-owner Meta, which are also facing antitrust lawsuits in the United States.

News of the lawsuit sent shares in Apple down by as much as 4.3 percent on Wall Street on Thursday.

At the heart of the case is Apple's alleged exclusionary practices that set strict and at times opaque conditions on firms and developers seeking to reach the iPhone's 136 million US users.

According to the lawsuit, these rules and decisions have been designed to force Apple users into staying in the Apple ecosystem and buying the iPhone.


«Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws,» said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

«If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly,» he added.

Apple fights back

The far-reaching case singled out practices it said was making Apple richer to the detriment of advancing innovation and technology for consumers.


Apple said the suit was «wrong on the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend against it.»

If successful, the suit would «set a dangerous precedent, empowering the government to take a heavy hand in designing people's technology,» the company added in a statement.

Apple also argued the government's case would benefit companies that have long wanted to do business on the iPhone free of charge.

The lawsuit accused Apple of squashing the creation of super apps, portals giving consumers access to services like messaging, social media, mobile payment, music, photos and movies all in one place.


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