DOJ’s sweeping Apple antitrust lawsuit draws expert praise

DOJ’s sweeping Apple antitrust lawsuit draws expert praise

The Verge reports:

The Department of Justice’s antitrust division has come into its own, having filed its third tech monopoly lawsuit in four years.

The accumulated experience shows up in the complaint, according to antitrust experts who spoke with The Verge about the complaint filed Thursday accusing Apple of violating antitrust law. The DOJ describes a sweeping arc of behaviors by Apple, arguing that it adds up to a pattern of illegal monopoly maintenance. Rather than focusing on two or three illegal acts, the complaint alleges that Apple engages in a pattern of behaviors that further entrench consumers into their ecosystem and make it harder to switch, even in the face of high prices and degraded quality.

“I think that they made an even stronger case than I thought that they could,” says Rebecca Haw Allensworth, antitrust professor and associate dean for research at Vanderbilt Law School. “They told a very coherent story about how Apple is making its product, the iPhone and the products on it – the apps — less useful for consumers in the name of maintaining their dominance.”

The lawsuit makes a strong case for consumer harm in addition to harm to developers, says Allensworth, comparing it favorably to the Federal Trade Commission’s suit against Amazon. This, according to Allensworth, was the “missing piece” in the FTC suit against Amazon. “This is just a more plausible story about consumers,” Allensworth says of the Apple complaint, making it, “as a legal matter, a stronger lawsuit.” [Continue reading…]

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