The US DOJ, along with 16 state attorneys general, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Thursday (21 March), accusing it of monopolising the smartphone market.

Apple is alleged to have maintained its monopoly through contractual restrictions and withholding critical access points from developers, thus impeding competition and innovation in smartphone apps, products and services.

The lawsuit claims that Apple’s actions result in higher costs for consumers, developers and businesses, and impose limitations on innovation and consumer choice.

The DOJ said it aims to restore competition in smartphone markets through legal action against Apple.

Key allegations include Apple blocking innovative apps, suppressing mobile cloud streaming services, excluding cross-platform messaging apps, limiting the functionality of non-Apple smartwatches and restricting third-party digital wallets.

The complaint suggests that Apple’s anticompetitive behaviour extends beyond smartphones to various other sectors including web browsers, video communication, news subscriptions and more.

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The DOJ said it is seeking equitable relief on behalf of the US public to address Apple’s alleged anticompetitive conduct.

Earlier this month, Apple was fined €1.8bn ($2bn) by the EU following an investigation into allegations that it placed unfair restrictions on music-streaming rivals such as Spotify. 

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said Apple had abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps for a decade.