US Readying a Massive Antitrust Case on Apple in 2024: Report

Apple antitrust case
In Short
  • A report by The New York Times details that the Justice Department is close to finishing its investigation into Apple for antitrust practices.
  • Apple could be accused of dominating the market by controlling hardware and software services under its closed ecosystem.
  • The case would specifically target core Apple services like the integration between iPhone and Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and Siri voice assistant.

It seems that another antitrust case is waiting for Apple just around the corner and this time it will be from its home soil. According to a report by The New York Times, The Justice Department of the US is close to launching an antitrust case against Apple for practices that keep the iPhone in a dominant position in the market and make a barrier for users who want to switch to other devices.

According to sources close to the investigation, The Department of Justice is on the verge of completing the investigation and could launch a sweeping antitrust case against Apple in the first half of 2024.

Apple Antitrust Case Possible Accusations

Apple gives up custom 5g modem

The investigation by the US government is set to target Apple’s closed ecosystem which it takes pride in and the investigation could lead to the following possible accusations on the tech giant.

  • Apple enjoys a monopoly on the Apple Watch by restricting the functionality of its most popular wearable when paired with smartphones other than iPhones.
  • Apple bars its competitors from accessing the iMessage services.
  • Apple denies access to NFC chips to other payment companies which leaves users with no other option but to use Apple Pay.
  • Apple’s attempts to shut rivals by barring access to Apple features like Siri virtual assistant.

The NY Times report says that the upcoming antitrust case on Apple will be unlike the previous cases. This time the court will question Apple on the tight integration of core Apple devices and services like the iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and Siri.

Apple has been subjected to antitrust allegations in the past as well but at that time the company admitted that its business model does not violate the antitrust law. Tim Cook appeared before that antitrust committee in 2020 and said in his testimony that “Apple does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business. That is not just true for iPhone; it is true for any product category“.

However, complaints have been piling up on Apple from rivals as it is perceived that Apple dominates the market by monopolizing its exclusive services and products.

Beebom’s Take

The pressure is mounting on Apple from regulators worldwide. After Apple was forced to abandon its proprietary Lightning port in favor of a USB-C port to comply with EU laws, the next inescapable decision that Apple has to take is to allow sideloading. While it was expected that Apple would roll out sideloading in iOS 17, we haven’t seen the feature so far. Recently, it was revealed that Japan is also planning to force Apple to allow sideloading and then this upcoming antitrust case could be a challenging situation for the tech titan.

While it is clear that Apple does enjoy a dominant position in the market from exclusivity and exclusionary practices. The Justice Department could force Apple to allow access to its services to rivals. On the other hand, Apple could argue that its business model is based on exclusivity by design and its dominance, therefore, does not violate any anticompetitive law.

Apple’s antitrust case could be the highlight of 2024 and may change the course of business for the Tim Cook-headed company altogether.

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