Four more states sue Apple over its moat around smartphone monopoly

Four more US states have joined the civil antitrust lawsuit brought forward by the Justice Department against Apple and its alleged monopolization of smartphone markets.

Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Washington have all joined the civil antitrust suit brought against Apple by the Justice Department, 15 states, and the District of Columbia.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said that this lawsuit has been created to battle Apple’s monopolization of multiple smartphone markets “in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.”

The department and its collective of 20 co-plaintiffs have filed an amended complaint to the District of New Jersey.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department, alongside 15 other states and district attorneys general, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple for monopolizing smartphone markets.

The Justice Department alleged that Apple uses its market power to get more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses, and merchants.

The civil lawsuit accuses Apple of an illegal monopoly on smartphones maintained by imposing contractual restrictions on – and withholding critical access from – developers.

“Apple has monopoly power in the smartphone and performance smartphones markets, and it uses its control over the iPhone to engage in a broad, sustained, and illegal course of conduct,” the DOJ said back in March.

The DOJ accused Apple of “anti-competitive conduct,” which has manifested itself in various forms.

Apple has allegedly stopped the growth of new apps that provide broad performance that would allow customers to switch to different smartphone platforms.

The tech giant has supposedly hindered the development of cloud-streaming apps and services that allow consumers access to high-quality video games and cloud-based apps without purchasing costly smartphone hardware.

The DOJ claims that Apple has diminished the quality of cross-platform messaging apps, making them less secure and innovative, so consumers are forced to continue buying Apple products.

According to the department, Apple has hindered the functionality of alternative smartwatches by forcing Apple Watch users to continue purchasing iPhones.

Finally, Apple has hindered third-party apps from providing tap-to-pay options and has blocked the creation of multi-platform third-party online wallets.

The lawsuit states that “Apple’s “moat” around its smartphone monopoly is wide and deep: it uses a similar playbook to maintain its monopoly through many other products and services.”

According to the suit, Apple has stifled innovation by using its power over app distribution and creation to block alternative innovations.

Ultimately, the DOJ demands fair relief for the American public to put right Apple’s anti-competitive conduct.

This lawsuit has been brought forward to “protect competition and the innovation that competition inevitably ushers in for consumers, developers, publishers, content creators, and device manufacturers.”

Furthermore, the Department and supporting states aim to battle this monopoly, which supposedly affects hundreds of millions of US citizens daily.