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U.S. Sues Apple, Accusing It of Maintaining an iPhone Monopoly

U.S. Sues Apple, Accusing It of Maintaining an iPhone Monopoly

The lawsuit caps years of regulatory scrutiny of Apple’s wildly popular suite of devices and services, which have fueled its growth into a nearly $3 trillion public company.

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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said that Apple has employed a strategy that relies on exclusionary anti-competitive conduct that hurts both consumers and developers.Ian C. Bates for The New York Times

The Justice Department joined 16 states and the District of Columbia to file an antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, the federal government’s most significant challenge to the reach and influence of the company that has put iPhones in the hands of more than a billion people.

In an 88-page lawsuit, the government argued that Apple had violated antitrust laws with practices that were intended to keep customers reliant on their iPhones and less likely to switch to a competing device.

The tech giant prevented other companies from offering applications that compete with Apple products like its digital wallet, which could diminish the value of the iPhone, and hurts consumers and smaller companies that compete with it, the government said.

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Read the Lawsuit Against Apple

The antitrust suit is the federal government’s most significant challenge to the reach and influence of the company.

Read Document 88 pages

The lawsuit caps years of regulatory scrutiny of Apple’s wildly popular suite of devices and services, which have fueled its growth into a nearly $2.75 trillion public company that was for years the most valuable on the planet. It takes direct aim at the iPhone, Apple’s most popular device and most powerful business, and attacks the way the company has turned the billions of smartphones it has sold since 2007 into the centerpiece of its empire.

By tightly controlling the user experience on iPhones and other devices, Apple has created what critics call an uneven playing field, where it grants its own products and services access to core features that it denies rivals. Over the years, it has limited finance companies’ access to the phone’s payment chip and Bluetooth trackers from tapping into its location-service feature. It’s also easier for users to connect Apple products, like smartwatches and laptops, to the iPhone than to those made by other manufacturers.

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