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4 More States Join DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit Targeting Apple

Department of Justice

Four more states have joined the Department of Justice’s civil antitrust lawsuit alleging that Apple monopolizes smartphone markets.

The attorneys general of Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada and Washington joined 15 other states, the District of Columbia and the DOJ as co-plaintiffs in the suit, the Justice Department said in a Tuesday (June 11) press release.

The members of the coalition bringing the suit aim to “restore competition in the smartphone markets that Apple has monopolized,” Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division said in the release. “We look forward to litigating this important case alongside our state partners to deliver the benefits of competition to consumers, app developers, accessory makers and the American public.”

Apple did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

In a Tuesday press release announcing that Washington was joining the lawsuit, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said: “An open marketplace encourages competition and creativity. Apple’s monopoly over smartphones pads its profits at the expense of users, developers and businesses. Ending its illegal monopolization over smartphones will level the playing field for everyone.”

The DOJ filed its long-expected antitrust case against Apple and its iPhone March 21, accusing Apple of monopolizing or attempting to monopolize the market for smartphones.

“We allege that Apple has maintained monopoly power in the smartphone market, not simply by staying ahead of the competition on the merits, but by violating federal antitrust law,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at the time. “If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly.”

The complaint alleges that the tech giant keeps the monopoly alive by “selectively imposing” contractual restrictions on developers and denying them important access points. It also alleges Apple takes measures to undermine apps, products and services that would make its customers less dependent on the iPhone.

In a statement provided to PYMNTS when the suit was filed, Apple said the suit threatens the principles that help its products stand out.

“If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple — where hardware, software and services intersect,” the company said. “It would also set a dangerous precedent, empowering the government to take a heavy hand in designing people’s technology. We believe this lawsuit is wrong on the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend against it.”