Apple is facing a landmark antitrust lawsuit from the DOJ
Drew Angerer via Getty Images

  • The DOJ has filed an antitrust case against Apple, but some analysts consider this a weak case.
  • Iconic technology journalist Walt Mossberg called the DOJ’s claim of an Apple monopoly “laughable.”
  • He wrote that the lawsuit punishes Apple “for not having a business model like those of its competitors.”

The DOJ filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple this week, alleging the company abused its monopoly power to stifle competition among smartphone makers.

While insiders and analysts from across the tech industry have speculated that the US could eventually reach a settlement — as it did in a similar antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s — not everyone is convinced the lawsuit will be a bull’s-eye is for the DOJ.

“Calling Apple a ‘monopoly’ on phones is laughable,” wrote iconic technology journalist Walt Mossberg in a series of posts on Threads. “Every independent analyst estimates iPhone market share at just over 50% in the US and just under 25% globally. That’s not a monopoly.”

Mossberg, who covered technology for nearly three decades, most notably for The Wall Street Journal and is known for his deep sourcing within Apple, wrote that the company is a smartphone maker for “people who want more from a digital device than a platform for tinkering.” ”, which has been the differentiator of companies like Microsoft since the 1980s.

He noted that the DOJ’s claims that Apple is engaging in anticompetitive conduct by making features on Apple phones work best when interacting with other products in the Apple ecosystem would not require government intervention. because even “Gmail only works fully and properly in a dedicated Gmail app.”

Mossberg noted that the Justice Department’s lawsuit had to narrowly define the market in which it claims Apple has a monopoly — “performance phones, that is, expensive phones,” he wrote — to substantiate its claims.

“And the iPhone is said to have 70% of that market in the US. That’s like calling the best-selling expensive wine a monopoly when it actually has a modest market share,” Mossberg wrote. “The DOJ acts as if competitors have the right to use iMessage technology, which is owned by Apple. But since when do companies have to do such a thing?”

Mossberg added that while he is not a lawyer, and it is possible that Apple could ultimately be proven to have broken the law on certain specific matters, “the core of the lawsuit appears to be about Apple’s philosophy of building products and services, and punish the company for not having a business model like that of its competitors.”

Mossberg, who noted in his “for the conspiracy theorists” thread that he is retired and was not paid for his posts, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

While his analysis of events in the tech world is widely trusted by industry experts, Mossberg is not alone in his criticism of the matter.

“Ultimately, this is clearly a political issue. The DOJ started in 2019 (!) in the old days of ‘going after Big Tech,'” said Steven Sinofsky, a software engineer and former president of the Windows division at Microsoft . , wrote in his newsletter ‘Hardcore Software’.

He added: “The DOJ wanted to bring cases against ‘Big Tech,’ so that’s what we got. Here we are with the case against Apple. It’s weak and poorly worded and it doesn’t seem like they’re behind it could have come up with what was going on. to do with an obvious duopoly where the market is incredibly well served by two very different approaches, many satisfied customers and few loud and vociferous companies that complain and who have already been in court have lost.”

Sinofsky declined to add additional comment on the case when reached by BI.

Representatives for Apple and the DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment from BI.

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