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March 21, 2024

Tong: CT joins 15 other states and DOJ in lawsuit accusing Apple of monopolizing smartphone market

MARK PAZNIOKAS / CTMIRROR.ORG Attorney General William Tong waves his smart phone and challenges the public to see how long they can go without being summoned to check.

The Department of Justice and 16 states, including Connecticut, filed an antitrust lawsuit against smartphone giant Apple on Thursday, accusing the company of abusing its monopoly power to stifle competition and to make it harder for consumers to switch from Apple’s products.

Attorney General William Tong announced that Connecticut is among the plaintiffs suing Apple for alleged violations of the Sherman Act. 

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, accuses Apple of “broad-based, exclusionary conduct” that undermines innovation for apps, products and services and “imposes extraordinary costs on developers, businesses and consumers.”

The complaint alleges that Apple illegally maintains a monopoly over smartphones by selectively imposing contractual restrictions on, and withholding critical access points from, developers, according to Tong.

“Apple is abusing its monopoly power and manipulating the smartphone market to unfairly disadvantage competing phones,” Tong said. “Messaging between iPhones and other smartphones is deliberately degraded and made less secure by Apple. Want to quickly ‘tap-to-pay’ using a digital wallet other than Apple Wallet? No can do.”

Tong gave other examples of incompatibility between Apple and non-Apple devices including smartwatches.

“These are unfair and anticompetitive restrictions, among others, imposed by Apple to keep rivals out and prices up,” Tong added.

The lawsuit seeks to restore competition to smartphone markets on behalf of the American public.

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, generated net revenues of $383 billion and net income of $97 billion in fiscal year 2023.

In addition to Connecticut, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin joined the complaint.

Also, in December, Connecticut was part of a group of states that settled an antitrust lawsuit against Apple that alleged the company used its app store to stifle competition by charging high fees on Android user purchases made through its Play Store. The case settled for $700 million.


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