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The U.S Justice Department Sues Apple

The U.S. Justice Department sues Apple claiming illegal monopoly over smartphone market (Regtech Times)

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the tech giant Apple over its alleged illegal use of antitrust laws and holding a monopoly in the smartphone market. 

The DOJ announced that they are accusing Apple of “engineering an illegal monopoly in smartphones that boxes out competitors, stifles innovation and keeps prices artificially high,” while Apple has called the lawsuit “wrong on the facts and the law.” 

The lawsuit takes aim at Apple undermining other competing technologies that include streaming, messaging and digital payments, as well as limiting functionality of non-Apple watches, third-party payments and encrypting messaging on competing platforms. 

The Department of Justice’s 5 reasons why they are suing Apple in their illegal monopoly (Statista)

Apple has an annual revenue of $400 billion and a market value of $3 trillion and even though Apple’s stock dropped by 7% they still managed to outperform another competing tech giant Microsoft. 

iPhones cost more than double the number of other competitors in the market, coming in at $1,199. Google and Apple have worked together to ensure “privacy” in Apple users using Google’s search engine. This is not the only thing Apple gets a percentage of but also up to 30% from app developers for the app’s price. 

Apple has built itself a “walled garden” that features the best of the best that consumers can buy, creating a barrier between itself and other competitors, especially Google’s Android software that is not as restrictive or licensed in the same way. 

The DOJ says that the tech giant “wraps itself in a cloak of privacy, security and consumer preferences to justify its anti-competitive behavior.” The DOJ also states, “Apple selectively compromises privacy and security interests when doing so is in Apple’s own financial interest.” 

“Personal data and privacy are not mutually exclusive and unfortunately for quite some time now companies, like Apple, will instead give an illusion of privacy with your personal data, but instead turn around and find a company that can use your data for their personal gain.” – JoEtta LeSueur, cybersecurity specialist at Kennesaw State University and a Cybersecurity Senior Consultant at SAP 

She added, “It’s like the game telephone that you would play in school but instead of the word being wrong or right at the end of the line your personal data like your name, interests, hobbies and whatever else you do gets stolen somewhere down the line with having no clue where or when it was stolen from.” 

Apple has used its iPhones to secretly and persistently send users’ GPS data to third parties. Just like other tech giants with their own smart devices like Google Home, Amazon Echo and Amazon IRobot/Roombas, Life360 app and Facebook selling data to third party companies. Most recently Google has gotten in some trouble with keeping data of users’ private information when using incognito mode and Amazon selling data to police departments due to IRobot/Roombas mapping the inside of people’s homes for police raids. 

This could change the way people use their data as well as how companies compete or integrate in the market after the DOJ lawsuit. 

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Logan LeSueur, Staff Writer
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