DOJ sues Apple over iPhone monopoly

This doesn’t sound like an abuse of Monopoly issue. Apple doesn’t have a monopoly, Android sells more phones overall. This seems more focused on uneven treatment amongst the vendors of the App Store.

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As someone here pointed out recently, apparently Apple has more than 50% market share in the US, and the Android phones sales are split amongst several manufacturers.

Apple has a monopoly on the App Store on IOS

I’ve no doubt that this has a happening due to recent events in the EU with the DMA and how much Apple has been dictated to.

Interesting to see how this story is being covered. Pretty much every tech site I know of has an article on this (as they should), but the Verge is going all in. Personally, as a user of all the major platforms, I don’t find the “walled garden” to be that bad (and every company is doing its own version of it). Since I am not directly invested in Apple, I am finding it difficult to care too much about this story, other than to see to see how it turns out.

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I think this another over-reach by the current administration. The WSJ editorial (behind paywall) today seems to be the best analysis I’ve seen in reading about all this. But who really knows.

The Justice Department on Thursday unveiled its long-mooted antitrust suit against Apple, and don’t smile—Apple’s main alleged victims are giant tech and financial companies. The lawsuit is trying to force changes in antitrust law that Congress hasn’t passed, and the alleged benefits to consumers aren’t obvious.

Justice says Apple exploits a putative smart-phone monopoly to lock consumers into its closed system and undermine competing products and services. It’s a plausible theory. Apple makes up roughly 55% of the U.S. smart-phone market, giving it enormous power over the app ecosystem. But Justice’s evidence is far from compelling.

See the piece for more …


How does anyone define a monopoly as 55% of the market (in only one product category – smart phones), with plenty of alternative products available to buy at a variety of prices, and no coercion to buy Apple products?

Apple is known for premium prices and is famous for its “Apple tax.” Plenty of cheaper Windows and Android devices are available that perform the same tasks that Apple gear does.

Why on earth would anybody buy Apple unless they really wanted to?

From details I learned in the WSJ article, the focus of the DOJ–who say they have read the charging document–is more around the App Store, forcing developers to conform, charging too much. Not limited to claim of monopoly of selling hardware.

WSJ mentioned that they think DOJ wants Apple to “open source” or something. Dunno. And then a biggie, according to the WSJ article is that Apple has the audacity to compete with credit card companies.

Read DOJ’s lawsuit closely, and Apple’s main alleged victims appear to be big banks, credit-card companies and Big Tech rivals. Apple’s digital wallet allows “users to make in-person payments by tapping their device on a payment terminal rather than tapping or swiping a physical credit card,” DOJ says. Oh no—an Apple innovation competes with Visa.

Only the lawyers are going to win this one, I suspect. For sure there is a political angle here and probably something behind the scenes that got DOJ and the administration angry at Apple or something. Dunno. FTC also doing some things that are odd.

I’ve not read it yet, but the DOJ Complaint for Case 2:24-cv-04055 is available at … all 88 pages.


Still seems like a mis-use of government power to benefit an interest group - developers? maybe consumers? - who are voluntarily participating with Apple, and benefiting from that participation, under terms which they have agreed to.

We don’t like to acknowledge this on the forum, but it’s also an election year. So it is time for the government to hand out freebees to groups of voters (e.g. billions to cancel student loans) and to look like they are doing something virtuous on our behalf (sticking it to a company that is doing well and has lots of money).


It is more of a case that we can’t acknowledge it here because it will turn into an argument and this thread will get locked. There are counterpoints to these arguments in many places, but it’s pointless to discuss here.


I just finished listening to the latest vergecast podcast. IMO they a good job of covering the story in true vergecast “style” :grinning:

The DOJ has been investigating Apple since 2019, so if this is anything like the Microsoft trial it will likely take several years.

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Too bad, because that is the most important part of the story.

But to take another tack, in my opinion Apple mostly just works, and there is a high probability that the government will mess it up. Maybe they could make a deal, the DOJ will leave Apple alone, if Apple will slash all of its storage charges by 50%.

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Strong disagree there. ATP spent an hour on the subject, I found it Interesting and well thought out, yet they didn’t go into the political side at all (as in who is in charge, left vs right, etc, they kept it neutral). Seems a lot of the takes out there are from Apple haters or people who want to talk about politics, so meh for me.

One thing I think non-Apple users miss is what keeps me with Apple. It’s not Apple’s stuff, but 3rd party apps. I use too much software that isn’t on Android/Windows. Also owning an Android tablet, they have some great things about them, but 3rd party apps mostly kind of suck.


I was trying to take a broader view, not just the stories referenced here. Anyway, evidently we can’t talk about it.

I have to use Windows some, Android not at all. Windows has been continually improving, but I still prefer the Apple environment. I, too, like many 3rd party Apple apps. I like the Apple apps themselves. I like the M chip computers. I like the ability to use cross-platform apps (i.e. Gmail, Dropbox, others). We have lots of great choices. The Apple hardware isn’t cheap, but considering how trouble-free it is, and how long it lasts, it is still a good deal. I just don’t want the government to mess it up.


I mean we can, but pretty much anything political gets heated and this board has zero tolerance for it, so it will get locked. Maybe this thread will be the exception to the norm? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ll pass on this except to say that I just wish the government would leave Apple alone.


The European Commission also announced today (March 25, 2024) that it is opening five non-compliance investigations into how Apple, Google, and Meta are complying with its new Digital Markets Act antitrust rules. This is reported by The Verge and others.

The EU Commission does not appear to be convinced that the new solutions from Alphabet, Apple and Meta would sufficiently fulfill the obligations arising from the Digital Markets Act in the EU. The Commission announced that should this prove to be the case, gatekeepers would face heavy fines. They would now take a closer look at how Apple complies with the rules because it fears that Apple’s rules are not attractive to take advantage of the DMA.

I buy and use a lot of Apple hardware and software and am very happy with it. But I am also not surprised that this development has come about in the EU. I’m more surprised that Apple’s managers don’t seem to know exactly how to deal with the wishes of EU lawmakers and are letting it escalate publicly. Perhaps they have little room to maneuver so that investors don’t get angry. Who knows.

The part of ATP’s discussion that I appreciated the most was when Siracusa actually dug up the law they’re charging Apple under. It’s basically wholly inadequate to deal with the modern situation, and I agree with Siracusa’s thoughts that the government should just decide what rules they want Apple to play by, then pass the laws.

Same with Facebook. And all the other tech companies. Come up with the regulations, and put them into place. Then enforce them.

Imagine getting all the people who wrote the Sherman act into a room (I know they’re all dead and buried - play along), and explaining to them that you’re filing monopoly charges against a company who has competitors selling products in the same broad market segment for 10% of the cost.

That’s why the DOJ came up with that “premium smartphone market” type of language - because the monopoly claim regarding the market as a whole is kind of ridiculous.


Although I do agree, just pass the laws to regulate the companies, I don’t think it is possible. Our government is incapable of doing much of anything. The DOJ is basically working with what they have.

Apple are obviously pushing the boundaries and trying to get away with giving as little as possible, but this is a brand new law, and I think it’s out of order for the EU to go in hard on organisations that are trying to interpret vaguely worded legislation.


I just listened to the ATP discussion and I agree it was remarkably thoughtful and balanced. It was so refreshing to hear people who had done some real research, tried to understand where both Apple and the DOJ were coming from and were adult enough to put different weight on different aspects and to say where they were confident and where they were not in their evaluations.

Emotionally, I agreed with the view that it would be better for the government to “use their words” and legislate and regulate so that big tech would be limited in the harms it might do and encouraged to act for the common good. I don’t think that’s realistic, sadly. It’s rare for even important laws that effect real change to be the result of logic and informed discussion - most real change emerges from things that have gone (sometimes horribly) wrong that people try to fix the best way they can and surprisingly often from court cases that do not directly address the issue.

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