US Justice Department files antitrust lawsuit against Apple

Attorneys general with the US Justice Department, 15 states and the District of Columbia are suing Apple, accusing it of creating an "iPhone monopoly." They announced the filing of an antitrust lawsuit in federal court in New Jersey on Thursday.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said consumers should not have to pay higher prices "because companies break the law." He added that, if left unchallenged, Apple will continue to strengthen its monopoly.

The attorneys general allege that the company has employed a strategy that relies on "exclusionary, anti-competitive conduct" that hurts both consumers and developers. They accuse Apple of developing its technology and business relations to "extract more money."

That includes restricting access to digital wallets developed by other parties and preventing its messaging app from exchanging encrypted messages with other platforms.

They also say the Apple Watch is only compatible with the iPhone, so once a consumer buys the watch, it becomes costly for them to switch to other phones.

Apple says it is making technology that protects users' privacy and gives them a "magical experience." It says the lawsuit could set a "dangerous precedent," allowing government officials to take a "heavy hand" in designing technology.

The Biden administration has tried to curtail the market dominance of technology giants. It has also sued Amazon, Google and Meta Platforms.