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Apple: The Antitrust Showdown That’s Rocking The Tech World

Samuel Wechsler & Harel Fisher


The egregious nature of antitrust violations represent a disregard for fair competition. Legal violations of this kind stifle innovation, limiting consumer choice, and distorting market dynamics to the detriment of businesses, consumers, and society at large.

Apple has found itself at the center of a significant legal battle, as the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), along with 16 states, accused the tech giant of monopolizing the US smartphone market. With a market value of $2.7 trillion, Apple’s dominance in the smartphone arena is undeniable. The accusations leveled against Apple are weighty, including charging exorbitant prices for its products, reaping unparalleled profits, and allegedly employing tactics to stifle competition.

The impact of antitrust violations

Antitrust violations such as price-fixing and collusion wield a profound impact on the economy, society, and consumers. In the tech world this not only stifles competition but also throttles innovation, as smaller players struggle to enter the market. As a result, consumers face restricted choices and heightened costs, impeding their access to affordable and diverse technological solutions. The ensuing economic imbalance distorts market dynamics, undermining the foundation of fair competition and impeding overall economic growth.

The detrimental impact of antitrust violations reaches beyond just the economy, profoundly impacting society and individual consumers. Monopolistic practices not only stifle competition but also encourage societal inequities. In the tech sector this can mean the lack of access to certain technologies to certain demographics of the population.

Apple’s DOJ encounter

The Apple antitrust case brought by the DOJ in March 2024 has dominated both legal and mainstream news in the United States. This case appears to be the last piece of the puzzle of the US government’s quest to reign in the power of big tech,  having previously filed antitrust actions against other big tech giants including Amazon, Google, and Facebook. In addition, the case demonstrates unity on multiple levels. First, it demonstrates alignment between the federal government and various states, as the DOJ’s action was joined by 16 attorneys general from across the nation. Moreover, the case illustrates unity across the political aisle, as the attorneys general who joined the filing come from a mix of traditionally Republican and Democratic states. 

We also note that this DOJ action has served as a catalyst for class action lawsuits against Apple, with cases already filed in California and New Jersey. These filings appear to underscore a pattern of antitrust class action suits piggybacking on government actions and mirroring those allegations in order to provide direct relief to consumers. And the alignment of civil and government actions also seems to work in the reverse. For instance, in the ongoing Yardi (Duffy V. Yardi Systems Inc et al (23-cv-1391)) and RealPage (Realpage, Inc., Rental Software Antitrust Litigation, (23-md-3071)) antitrust class action cases alleging price-fixing in the residential leasing market, the DOJ has appeared as an “interested party” and submitted briefs in support of the plaintiffs’ claims. The government’s unequivocal backing of these actions demonstrates its commitment to curbing anti-competitive conduct and sets the stage for a favorable legal environment in this arena, which was further echoed by Biden’s statements in his State of the Union address. 

But the Apple case begs the question, have consumers actually suffered any harm from Apple? In United States of America et al. v. Apple Inc. (24-cv-04055), the DOJ alleges that Apple’s conduct “leaves all smartphone users worse off, with fewer choices, higher prices and fees, lower quality smartphones, apps, and accessories, and less innovation from Apple and others.” The lawsuit seems to suggest that consumers are essentially trapped by Apple and continue to stick with iPhones because Apple makes it nearly impossible to seamlessly switch devices. However this suggestion ignores the fact that consumers may simply be unwilling to switch because they like their iPhones and what they offer. In other words, perhaps we are talking about loyal Apple consumers, not victims of Apple’s manipulation

In addition, the allegations in this case seemingly diverge from typical antitrust cases we tend to see in the United States, and instead bear a resemblance to those previously pursued by European regulators. 

This case underscores the evolving nature of antitrust enforcement. Plaintiff’s attorneys should closely monitor the case’s outcome, and recognize its potential to set precedent and shape the regulatory landscape in America.

AI to detect antitrust misconduct

Uncovering antitrust violations is a complex and arduous task due to the clandestine nature of collusive practices and the intricate web of corporate structures. Attorneys often face challenges in gathering sufficient evidence, as antitrust violations can involve secretive communications and intricate financial maneuvers.

This is where AI steps into the picture. Legal AI plays a crucial role in uncovering legal breaches. At Darrow, we’ve developed AI-powered algorithms that have transformed this detection process, allowing us to pinpoint suspicious activities and unauthorized access to sensitive data with unparalleled precision and speed. These algorithms have the capability to identify a wide range of legal violations, including antitrust violations. Utilizing AI to detect such violations presents an opportunity to set new precedents and open the door for more innovative cases that protect individuals against anti-competitive corporate conduct.

What’s next for the Apple antitrust case? 

Antitrust violations have far-reaching consequences for society, the economy, and consumers. By leveraging AI, attorneys can better identify anti-competitive behaviors, promoting fairer markets for all. The ongoing Apple DOJ case offers a captivating glimpse into the antitrust enforcement and technology regulation, and its intriguing to observe the outcomes and potential precedents set.

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