Antitrust Case: US Sues Apple Over iPhone (Part-2)

US probe despite Cupertino, California-based Apple previously announced that it would let European users download iPhone apps via the web, let developers give discounts outside the App Store, and allow third-party marketplaces to sell software.

In 2019, the Trump Justice Department began investigating Apple for antitrust violations. A 2020 House inquiry of four digital corporations concluded that Apple maintains a monopoly on iPhone software distribution, profiting from developer commissions of up to 30%.

Fortnite developer Epic Games sued Apple over the App Store in 2020. A federal judge ruled the App Store restrictions violated California state law but not federal antitrust law.

Apple announced in January that it will enable US developers to use alternative payment systems but charge 27% for most digital purchases and 12% for subscriptions in response to that case. Epic claims those modifications are inadequate.

Microsoft Corp., Meta Platforms Inc., and X Corp., previously Twitter, also criticized Apple's proposed modifications on Wednesday, saying the iPhone manufacturer has placed onerous restrictions on linkages to other payment systems.

The tech behemoth faces multiple antitrust lawsuits, including the US one. Apple was fined €1.8 billion ($2 billion) by the EU this month for blocking iPhone music services. Apple appeals.

Epic was allowed to construct its own EU app store to compete with Apple last week when the company restored its developer account. That occurred a day after Brussels regulators questioned Apple's Epic ban and threatened extra sanctions. This is the Justice Department's third antitrust lawsuit against Apple in 14 years. The corporation settled charges that it improperly pledged not to poach Google, Adobe, and Pixar employees in 2010.

Two years later, the Justice Department sued Apple and publishers for fixing iPad e-book prices. Apple was ordered to accept a monitor and adopt antitrust law-compliant policies and training after the Justice Department won at trial.

On Thursday, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter said the Justice Department's claim is different from prior ones because Apple has deliberately maintained its iPhone monopoly for a decade. He further denied that the case would compromise smartphone privacy and security. At the press conference, Kanter argued Apple's behavior had made its environment less private and safe.

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