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DOJ’s Case Against Apple: Beware of Forcing ‘Efficiencies’

 |  April 19, 2024

By: Mario Zuñiga (Truth On The Market)

The recent complaint from the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) alleging Apple’s monopolistic practices in smartphone markets is framed by Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jonathan Kanter as a contribution to the agency’s tradition of challenging formidable monopolies throughout history.

However, critical voices such as Alden Abbott, Herbert Hovenkamp, and Randall Picker have extensively highlighted fundamental flaws in the assessment of both Apple’s supposed monopoly power and the “exclusionary” tactics it employs.

Yet, what seems to have gone unnoticed is the DOJ’s flawed comprehension of the objectives and extent of what it terms “our system of antitrust laws.”

The crux of the DOJ’s case revolves around Apple’s alleged manipulation of its products to maintain dominance in the “performance smartphone” sector. According to the complaint, Apple is accused of impeding technologies that could enhance competition in smartphone markets by reducing barriers to switching devices, among other tactics. These suppressed technologies are purportedly designed to offer a superior user experience across all smartphones, thereby necessitating competition based on merits.

Furthermore, the DOJ contends that Apple deliberately undermines its products to stifle emerging competition. It cites instances where Apple’s actions have contributed to bolstering its smartphone monopoly by increasing user switching costs, resulting in inflated prices and diminished innovation for users and developers alike…