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Friday Briefing: The U.S. Sues Apple

Apple’s suite of devices and services have fueled its growth into a nearly $3 trillion public company.Credit…Ian C. Bates for The New York Times

The U.S. accused Apple of a monopoly

The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against the technology giant Apple. The lawsuit — which includes 16 states and the District of Columbia — is the federal government’s most significant challenge to Apple’s reach and influence.

The government argued that Apple violated antitrust laws with practices that were intended to keep customers reliant on their iPhones and less likely to switch to a competing device. By tightly controlling the user experience on iPhones and other devices, Apple has created what critics call an uneven playing field, where it grants its own products and services access to core features that it denies rivals.

It argued that the tech giant prevented other companies from offering applications that compete with Apple products like its digital wallet — which could diminish the value of the iPhone. It also said that Apple’s policies hurt consumers and smaller companies that compete with its services, and said its practices resulted in “higher prices and less innovation.”

Rebuttal: Apple has said its control over the technology makes iPhones more secure than other smartphones.

What’s next: It’s unclear what implications the suit — which is likely to drag out for years — would have for consumers.

Details: The lawsuit asks the court to stop Apple from engaging in practices like blocking cloud-streaming apps and undermining messaging across smartphone operating systems.

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