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U.S. Justice Department files lawsuit against Apple

This decision underscores the growing attention of regulatory authorities to the role of large technology platforms in shaping the cryptocurrency market.

Date: 2024-03-25 Author: Marek Stiller
U.S. Justice Department files lawsuit against Apple

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and 16 state and district attorneys general have filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple, accusing the tech giant of monopolizing or attempting to monopolize smartphone markets in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act .

Apple, a publicly traded company based in California, generated significant revenues in fiscal year 2023, exceeding the GDP of many countries.

Justice Department files lawsuit against Apple, alleging illegal control of smartphone market

A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey alleges that Apple is accused of illegally controlling the smartphone market by imposing restrictive contracts on developers and limiting their access to vital points.

This allegedly prevents the development of crypto apps, products and services that could reduce dependence on iPhones, promote compatibility with other platforms and lower costs for consumers and developers.

The Justice Department claims that Apple is using its dominant position to extract more money from various parties, such as consumers, developers, artists and small businesses. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated at a Thursday press conference:

“Apple has maintained its power not through its superiority, but through unlawful exclusionary behavior. Monopolies like Apple threaten the free and fair markets on which our economy is based.”

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According to the Justice Department, Apple’s policy unfairly eliminated alternative payment systems and drew attention to the 30% fee imposed on apps and in-app purchases, despite not being an app developer.

This fee, combined with Apple’s exclusive handling of fiat currencies in its payment systems, has created challenges to the integration of cryptocurrencies in apps. As a result, many cryptocurrency-based apps have found it economically unviable to offer in-app purchases or use cryptocurrencies in the Apple ecosystem.

Government officials also claim that the smartphone maker has refused to support cross-platform messaging apps , limited third-party digital wallets and non-Apple smartwatches, and has blocked mobile cloud streaming services to maintain its dominance in the smartphone market.

Apple is facing legal challenges from the U.S. Department of Justice and EU regulators

Apple’s practices also allegedly restrict iPhone users and developers from accessing alternative app stores that could compete with Apple’s fees. The Justice Department claims that Apple arbitrarily enforces App Store rules and penalizes developers who use technologies that could disrupt its monopoly position.

Some of the examples cited include non-fungible token markets(NFTs) such as OpenSea disabling some features in its iOS apps due to the 30% fee, and a Bitcoin-friendly social app called Damus removing the BTC tipping feature after Apple delisted it for not using the in-app payment system.

In addition, Apple ‘s scrutiny extends to web apps that can be accessed through iOS devices, as the company requires all iOS web browsers to use the WebKit browser engine . The Justice Department accuses the company of denying access to competing digital wallets and preventing developers from providing payment services to customers.

Officials handling the case stress that no company should be above the law, regardless of its size. They are determined to enforce antitrust laws to protect consumers and promote fair competition in the market.

In response, an Apple spokesman said that the Justice Department’s complaint is false and that Apple will vigorously defend against it. The company argues that the lawsuit could set a dangerous precedent by giving the government undue control over technology design.

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Marek Stiller
Marek Stiller
Founder of the "Cryptocurrency for Beginners" channel on YouTube. He collaborates with Łukasz to form the Arena Trading group, while at the same time being passionate about blockchain technology. His knowledge and experience in the cryptocurrency industry help beginner investors better understand this dynamic market.
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