The United States has launched a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the tech giant of using its dominant market position in the smartphone industry to suppress competition and limit choice. 

Filed in New Jersey by the Department of Justice (DoJ), along with a coalition of 16 state and district attorneys, the lawsuit takes aim at Apple's practices that allegedly restrict developers and make it challenging for users to switch to competitor devices. 

The DoJ's antitrust chief, Jonathan Kanter, described Apple's approach to competition as “a series of whack-a-mole contractual rules and restrictions”, effectively quashing rivalries.

Highlighting the magnitude of Apple's influence, US Attorney General Merrick Garland noted that the company's net income in 2023, totaling $97 billion, surpasses the GDP of over 100 countries. 

He attributed this financial success in part to Apple's dominance in the US smartphone market, where it boasts more than a 65 per cent share.

“Over the years, Apple has maintained monopoly power in the smartphone market not simply by competition on the merits but through an intentional strategy to exclude competitors,” Garland said.

Apple is opposing the lawsuit's allegations, insisting on the foundational principles that distinguish its products in competitive markets. 

“This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets,” a company spokesperson said. 

Apple contends that the lawsuit's success could severely restrict its ability to innovate and deliver the integrated experiences that customers expect.

“If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple - where hardware, software, and services intersect. It would also set a dangerous precedent, empowering government to take a heavy hand in designing people’s technology,” it said. 

This lawsuit is the first significant antitrust challenge Apple faces under US President Joe Biden's tenure, amidst broader antitrust endeavours against other Silicon Valley giants for alleged monopolistic conduct. 

The outcome of this legal battle could lead to a range of remedies, from a possible breakup of the company to changes in how Apple constructs contracts or operates its business, though specific remedies remain under discussion.