Apple dismisses Microsoft monopoly comparisons

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A week after uncovering itself astatine nan business extremity of a landmark suit from nan United States Department of Justice, Apple is staunchly denying immoderate parallels between itself and Microsoft successful nan 1990s. It’s a comparison into which nan U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland leaned heavy successful past week’s filing.

While portions of nan United States v. Microsoft Corp. were partially overturned, nan Windows shaper was yet required to modify definite business practices deemed monopolistic by nan government. Garland and nan 16 authorities attorneys wide that participated successful nan Apple suit are nary uncertainty seeking a akin result to curtail practices its believes magnitude to an unfair advantage for nan $2.65 trillion company.

“In 1998, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs criticized Microsoft’s monopoly and ‘dirty tactics’ successful operating systems to target Apple, which prompted nan institution ‘to spell to nan Department of Justice’ successful hopes of getting Microsoft ‘to play fair,’” nan suit notes, heavy implying hypocrisy connected Apple’s part. “But moreover astatine that time, Apple did not look nan aforesaid types of restrictions it imposes connected 3rd parties today; Apple users could usage their iPod pinch a Windows computer, and Microsoft did not complaint Apple a 30% interest for each opus downloaded from Apple’s iTunes store. Similarly, erstwhile Apple brought nan iPhone to marketplace successful 2007, it benefited from title among constituent makers and wireless carriers.”

For its part, Apple cites world iPhone numbers that are obscurity approaching nan 90+% marketplace stock Windows enjoyed anterior to nan move of nan millennium. Lawsuits for illustration this are a uncommon opportunity to spot a ample corp bragging astir really few devices they’ve sold comparative to nan broader market. Indeed, pinch numbers hovering astir 20% globally, it’s difficult to make nan lawsuit that nan institution is dominating nan title nan measurement Microsoft did Apple a quarter-century ago.

It’s true, certainly, that nan iPhone performs particularly good successful nan home market, wherever it faces little nonstop title from galore of nan low-cost handsets that predominate India and China (the number 1 and 2 markets, respectively). Apple suggests, however, that nan DOJ’s proposal that its “share of nan full U.S. smartphone marketplace exceeds 65%” is misleading, arsenic it refers to gross alternatively than units sold. Of nan latter, nan institution believes it commands little than half of its location market.

The favoritism betwixt these figures comes down to nan value per unit. It’s present nan DOJ suggests that Apple commands 70% of nan “performance” smartphone market. Certainly it’s existent that Apple’s devices mostly autumn into nan premium category, of which nan institution controls a ample swath present successful nan States. The DOJ will apt person a difficult clip proving that — successful and of itself — constitutes a monopoly.

This is why overmuch of nan 88-page title focuses connected aspects for illustration Apple’s tight App Store control, nan Watch’s inability to interface pinch Android devices and — of people — nan dreaded greenish bubbles. Taken arsenic a whole, nan attorneys wide who coauthored nan suit propose that this grounds proves that nan company’s utilizing its marketplace position to coerce 3rd parties and mostly make life much difficult for Android developers.

Among nan much absorbing aspects of nan suit is nan declare that specified actions led to nan demise of Amazon, HTC, LG and Microsoft’s ain attempts to compete successful nan space.

“Many prominent, well-financed companies person tried and grounded to successfully participate nan applicable markets because of these introduction barriers,” nan suit notes. “Past failures see Amazon (which released its Fire mobile telephone successful 2014 but could not profitably prolong its business and exited nan pursuing year); Microsoft (which discontinued its mobile business successful 2017); HTC (which exited nan marketplace by trading its smartphone business to Google successful September 2017); and LG (which exited nan smartphone marketplace successful 2021). Today, only Samsung and Google stay arsenic meaningful competitors successful nan U.S. capacity smartphone market. Barriers are truthful precocious that Google is simply a distant 3rd to Apple and Samsung contempt nan truth that Google controls improvement of nan Android operating system.”

Apple is efficaciously laughing astatine nan proposal that specified marketplace failures were nan responsibility of anyone but nan companies down them. The competitors nan DOJ consulted while putting together nan lawsuit apt person differing opinions connected really overmuch of a nonstop domiciled nan iPhone shaper played successful their inability to seizure meaningful marketplace stock (and each of nan supra instances are dramatically different from 1 another), but successful nan lawsuit of nan Fire Phone, astatine least, Amazon should beryllium pointing nan digit squarely astatine itself.

As for why companies for illustration Huawei don’t coming a situation to Apple connected its location turf, nan U.S. authorities should return a good, agelong look successful nan mirror.

The smartwatch example is an absorbing one. Even Cupertino’s highly paid ineligible squad would struggle to make nan lawsuit that Apple Watch owners aren’t hamstrung by its iOS exclusivity. For its part, however, nan institution suggests that method limitations are nan logic for this. Apple says it spent 3 years attempting to create WatchOS/Android compatibility, only to springiness up, citing information and privateness concerns.

Similarly, while Apple points to nan caller announcement that it will support RCS messages connected iPhone, nan institution insists that nan continued beingness of stigmatized greenish bubbles are basal to differentiate encryption and compatibility pinch definite Messages features.

The title cites soul emails from Apple executives suggesting that removing greenish bubbles would beryllium bad for business.

Ultimately, Apple believes that nan suit seeks to efficaciously turn iOS into Android. The institution points to nan 2008 Supreme Court case, Pacific Bell Co. v. LinkLine Communications. The tribunal ruled unanimously successful Pac Bell’s favor, stating that nan telecom institution didn’t break antitrust rules and is capable to find which companies pinch which it chooses to work.

When nan clip comes for nan institution to springiness its arguments, nan institution will apt reason that it’s not Apple’s occupation to prop up competitors.

“If successful, [the lawsuit] would inhibit our expertise to create nan benignant of exertion group expect from Apple—where hardware, software, and services intersect,” it noted successful a connection issued soon aft past week’s filing. It would besides group a vulnerable precedent, empowering authorities to return a dense manus successful designing people’s technology. We judge this suit is incorrect connected nan facts and nan law, and we will vigorously take sides against it.

For much connected Apple’s antitrust lawsuit, cheque here:

  • DOJ claims greenish bubbles are an rumor successful Apple iPhone antitrust lawsuit
  • Why Apple’s antitrust suit could beryllium a metallic lining for Epic Games
  • Apple’s iPhone is not a monopoly for illustration Windows was a monopoly
  • Epic, Spotify, Deezer, Match Group and others applaud DOJ’s Apple lawsuit
  • DOJ calls retired Apple for breaking iMessage-on-Android solution, Beeper
  • Here’s what nan DOJ suit could mean for Apple Watch
  • Apple slams DOJ lawsuit arsenic misguided effort to move iPhone into Android

Read much astir nan DOJ's antitrust suit against Apple connected TechCrunch